Local elections 2022: Green Party make inroads in Islington as Labour retains council

Overall, Labour has 48 councillors, including in the new Laycock ward, with three Green opponents.

Not so much a Green wall but certainly a Green step in Islington as the party took control of three seats on the council – dethroning a senior Labour councillor in the process.

Caroline Russell is joined by Benali Hamdache and Ernestas Jegorvas-Armstrong in Highbury ward in an upset for the Labour party.

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It means Sue Lukes, the Labour executive member for community safety, and her daughter Minda Burgos-Lukes were foiled in their candidature for the same ward, which came about because of boundary changes.

Overall, Labour has 48 councillors, including in the new Laycock ward, with three Green opponents.

Cllr Russell pledged to “work hard to represent Highbury residents in the council chamber and be a constructive opposition”.

Green Cllr Caroline Russell. Credit: LDRS

The controversial low traffic neighbourhoods became a love-them-or-hate-them issue. Some voters say they cut traffic and air pollution and encourage cycling. Others say they divert traffic and make journeys longer.

The Conservatives promised to scrap LTNs but went unrewarded at the ballot box, failing to win any seats.

Voters were also concerned about the rising cost of living and the climate emergency.

Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Labour candidate for Junction ward, Islington. Credit: Julia Gregory

Islington is one of the London boroughs thought to be most at risk from flooding and overheating because of the climate emergency.

It means the Green party’s is now the official opposition at Upper Street.

Caroline Russell (Highbury) was the only opposition at the last election in 2018 and said it was “lonely” being the sole scrutineer.

Two councillors crossed the floor from Labour during the last council term, one to become the sole Conservative – the first since 1984 – and the other was independent.

Islington has long been regarded as a Labour stronghold. The party held power from 1964 to 1998, apart from 1968 to 1971 when the Conservatives were in control.

The SDP ran the council briefly from 1981 to 1982, and the Liberal Democrats were in leadership from 1999 to 2006, and then ran it as a minority control until 2010.