Liberal Democrats, TUSC announce candidates for Higham Hill by-election

The Labour, Conservative and Green parties are understood to be finalising the selection of their candidates, reports Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Lib Dem Alex Lewis (fourth from left). Credit: Arran Angus

Two political parties have announced their candidates for the upcoming by-election in Higham Hill.

The recent resignation of Labour cabinet member Alistair Strathern, who is running to be an MP in Nadine Dorries’ former Mid-Beds seat, has sparked a by-election for the Waltham Forest ward on Thursday 26th October.

So far, the only parties to confirm who they are putting forward are the Liberal Democrats and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

The Labour, Conservative and Green parties are understood to be finalising the selection of their candidates.

This week, a group of Lib Dem activists, including their prospective candidate Alex Lewis, visited Higham Hill to hand out leaflets and to target homes of residents who are “likely to be supportive”.

Alex’s key manifesto pledges include campaigning for “cleaner, safer streets”, opposing sewage dumping in local rivers and stopping the “spiralling costs” of the Edmonton waste incinerator.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he lives in the ward with his young family and works in medical claims.

TUSC has also confirmed that its prospective candidate is local Socialist Party member Nancy Taaffe, who regularly campaigns on local housing issues.

Nancy said she is campaigning in Highams Hill because residents are experiencing a “crisis in housing” while blocks of flats are built “all over the borough.

She added: “I have fought with people in our community for eight years against this Labour council’s large-scale handing over of public land to private property developers to build monster blocks of expensive flats, instead of a large-scale programme of building council homes to solve the immense housing crisis.

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“What is the point of one more Labour councillor in Higham Hill? This is our chance to protest!

“We appeal to community campaigners, trade unionists, everyone who wants to make a stand, to come and join in our campaign.”

Nancy pointed out that at the local elections in May 2022 TUSC “beat the Tories” in Higham Hill.

In the 2022 local elections, Labour won all three seats in the Higham Hill ward. 

Cllr Strathern won 1,673 votes to the Green Party’s 662 votes, the Liberal Democrat candidate won 316 votes and TUSC won 158.

Although Labour has not yet revealed who its candidate will be, its members have been door-knocking in the ward since last week.

Labour councillors and activists have been handing out leaflets showing a photograph of ward councillors Kira Lewis and Karen Bellamy which say “on your side in Higham Hill”.

Due to the by-election, Waltham Forest Council has reportedly delayed a planning committee meeting to decide an application for a huge residential and industrial development on Blackhorse Lane, in Higham Hill ward.

The council by-election on 26th October will be the first in Waltham Forest where residents will be required to present photographic identification when they vote.

Although prospective candidates have been announced for the elections, they will not be formally confirmed until 2nd October.

You can find out more information, including a full timetable for the election and voter registration deadlines here

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