A 4.5% swing to Labour was not enough to win the GLA seat, but Leonie Cooper and her team fought a great campaign.
Lib Dem 11,904
Ken Livingstone and Leonie Cooper at Tooting Broadway
Ken Livingstone promised people in Wandsworth they will be £1,000 richer if they vote him in May.
He pledged to reverse cuts to the police and to freeze transport fares for commuters in Wandsworth.
Mr Livingstone also said he would bring back the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for youngsters in higher education.
The mayoral candidate hoping for a third term in City Hall was launching his Better Off With Ken campaign outside Tooting Broadway station yesterday, delivering his manifesto while standing on a soapbox.
Labour councillors are joining angry residents and business owners in Wandsworth in calling for answers regarding Wandsworth Council’s poor management of refuse collection and street cleaning.
Many streets across the borough were left strewn with rubbish and uncollected refuse sacks this week, as the Council failed to inform residents of changes to their collections.
This unforeseen change occurred because the Council was forced to hand over the contract for waste collection to a new company, following the collapse of the second provider in a row.
This has led not only to a change in the day of collection, but also means the schedule for street cleaning now no longer ties in with that of waste collection – but none of this has been adequately conveyed to Wandsworth residents.
Labour strongly believes this situation has arisen due to Wandsworth Council’s poor management and financial incompetence, and that this disruption to service could have been avoided entirely.
Cllr Leonie Cooper said,
“Given the Conservative administration’s poor management, it is no surprise that residents have commented on the deterioration in the service received, as corners have seemingly been cut. This approach does not save money in the long run, as now we have seen the second company in a row go into administration. This is leaving Wandsworth residents at a great disadvantage, as uncollected waste, dirty streets and dog fouling are left to build up across the borough.”
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Cuts to police funding has led to severe under-staffing amongst Wandsworth’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams. The Tory-led Government’s 20 per cent cuts to policing go too far too fast and are already having a damaging impact on police forces here in Wandsworth, and across the country. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has estimated that these front-loaded cuts will lead to the loss of over 16,000 police officers over the next 4 years.
Wandsworth Labour councillors are concerned by the resultant lack of neighbourhood policing, and the effect this will have on local neighbourhood safety. Despite the duty for Safer Neighbourhood Teams to be represented by a minimum team of 6 for an average ward – comprising of 1 Sergeant, 2 PCs and 3 PCSOs – a majority in Wandsworth fall well short of this level.
Cuts to the police have meant that wards like Tooting are represented by only 2 police officers, and no PCSOs – despite the fact Tooting presents higher crime rates when compared to other areas with comparatively better police representation. The stretch on local policing is exacerbated by the fact that many personnel are forced to serve two neighbourhoods concurrently. According to police reports, this affects as many as 10 wards.
Cllr Leonie Cooper London Assembly candidate for Merton and Wandsworth said, “As Mayor, Boris Johnson has completely failed to stand up for Londoners and police numbers have plummeted. Even worse than Tooting, Furzedown ward only has 1 officer – the Sergeant. This is a disgrace. In May, Labour will reverse the Tory Mayor’s cuts to community policing, supporting all Safer Neighbourhood Teams across London. This would reverse this worrying shortage in Wandsworth, and help keep our streets safe.”
The MP for Battersea, Jane Ellison (CON) spoke on behalf of the ‘Back Boris’ campaign, whilst local Councillor and candidate for the London Assembly, Leonie Cooper (LAB), put the case for the ‘Ken for London’ team.
Jane Ellison took the floor first and offered a personal touch, stating that both she and Boris have known each other since University. “Boris has been Boris for as long as I can remember,” she said. She went on to state that she believes that the Mayor has put the interests of his city ahead of his political party, that he has to see the sense in keeping the major banks within London: concluding with the tagline: “London needs a Mayor who believes that this city’s best days are ahead of it, not behind it”.
Councillor Cooper then spoke about Ken Livingstone’s achievements when in office, his proposals for changes in policy, and how these might benefit students and others on low income, before finishing with the challenge, “If you want to have an approach that is fair for all Londoners, you need to be voting for Ken Livingstone”.
Students cross-questioned both speakers about their candidates’ policies on transport, affordable housing, and, of course, Higher Education. There was even a debate sparked around the question of why the city needs a Mayor at all.
But the biggest surprise of the session was the dramatic change in students’ voting preferences after hearing the debate. Anonymous electronic voters used before and after the session showed that the percentage of students who would vote for Ken Livingstone jumped from 17% to 54%. Most of these ‘swing’ voters had previously been committed to voting for another candidate altogether, or didn’t know which way they would vote. The percentage of those who said they would vote for Boris Johnson would be their pick declined slightly from 38% to 31%.
By Josh Kaile – Labour’s Candidate In Southfields
I had the pleasure of introducing former London Mayor and this year’s Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone to residents in Sudbury House
Ken’s election takes place exactly five weeks after the Southfields by-election and it’s really important that Labour supporters go to the trouble to vote in both elections. Many of the issues Ken has placed at the top of his agenda: the huge increases in fares under Boris Johnson, the loss of police and the lack of affordable housing while the Tory council piles up luxury apartment blocks all around us are critical issues to Southfields and Wandsworth.
Ken’s visit is the latest example of how seriously we in Labour take this by-election, in stark contrast to the Conservatives. After all, it’s only because they are so disdainful of local residents that they couldn’t be bothered to find a local resident to stand for them; instead parachuting in a Tooting resident who’s far more interested in climbing the greasy pole than standing up for Southfields.
You get absolutely nothing from sending a 47th Conservative to the town hall but as Ken and I saw yesterday, the parts of Southfields and Wandsworth the council shamefully neglects urgently need an alternative. I will be that alternative.
Labour and Tory Councillors have approved plans to modernise and refurbish the adventure playground in Battersea Park with brand new equipment and keep play free.
The decision, taken on Wednesday, will now be subject to public consultation. If backed by residents it would mean the playground does not need to introduce an admission charge – and would remain free to use. Councillors want to spend £200,000 on providing modern new equipment for the playground, which would conform to all the latest safety standards.
This would replace the playground’s existing wooden play structures and mean that staff would no longer be needed to supervise activities. The plans would allow the playground to remain open for longer than is currently possible. It would be available for use at all times the park is open, seven days a week.
In a radio interview for Radio London Cllr. Leonie Cooper, Labour’s GLA Candidate for Wandsworth and Merton also got a promise that all Wandsworth’s playgrounds will stay free. But Labour continues to have concerns about safety and loss of jobs, so any future proposals will be scrutinised for their impact on these two vital aspects of the service. Cllr. Andy Gibbons said ‘We are pleased the adventure playground will stay free, but we believe there is a role for professional staff in ensuring children play safely.’
It was standing room only at a packed public meeting with Ken Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for the 2012 London Mayoral election. After a day touring Wandsworth, from Putney High Street to Clapham Junction and Battersea, Ken took questions and ideas from an audience of hundreds at Holy Trinity Church in Tooting.
Amongst the subjects discussed were the economy, transport, health, crime, policing and education. Sadiq Khan MP and Leonie Cooper Labour’s GLA Candidate for Wandsworth and Merton also spoke at the meeting, which closed with a resounding ‘no’ to Boris Johnson’s support for tax cuts for the richest 2% of Londoners.
Tooting Labour Party is hosting a public meeting with Ken Livingstone, our candidate for the London Mayoral Election on Thursday, 8th September at 7pm at Holy Trinity Church Hall (Trinity Road, corner of Trinity Cres). Leonie Cooper, our GLA candidate will also be at the meeting.