East Barnet by-election candidates make their pitch for your vote
Candidates from five political parties are vying to succeed in a by-election in East Barnet next week.
The ballot will take place after Labour’s Jo Cooper stepped down as East Barnet councillor. The ward is a marginal seat, with voters in 2018 choosing two Labour and one Tory councillor to represent them.
Here is a rundown of those hoping to become East Barnet's newest councillor on Thursday, 6th May.
Gabrielle Bailey – Green Party
Gabrielle has lived in Barnet for most of her life and says she is committed to making it a great place to live.
“I’m interested in a wide range of issues, particularly those around improving health and reducing poverty,” she said. “I’m keen to improve local air quality by reducing traffic, safeguarding green space and encouraging more sustainable transport.
“Housing issues are important to me, from ensuring renters aren’t being taken advantage of by greedy landlords to preventing our green spaces from being sold off to developers.
“I’m also interested in tackling food poverty – a somewhat hidden but very important issue in our area and something I’ve experienced myself in the past.”
Sean Hooker – Liberal Democrats
Sean has lived in the borough since he was a child and currently lives in East Barnet. He works as head of a government-approved organisation resolving complaints made against letting and estate agents.
His primary focus is to ensure the development of the Victoria Quarter proposed for the old gasworks site in Albert Road is done in a sensitive, sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
He says he also wants better local transport links and will lobby for a new bus route to serve residents who lost access to the 384 service when it was rerouted.
Sean says he will campaign for more police to deal with the rise in burglary and anti-social behaviour.
Linda Lusingu - Labour Party
Linda is a solicitor who has dealt with many cases involving violence against women and girls. She has been a school governor and volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Her immediate priority will be to campaign to ensure the government does not overturn the decision to refuse the “massive development” at the former gasworks.
Linda also wants to clean up the borough’s streets, protect parks and open spaces and make sure there is enough funding for local nursery schools.
She said: “More needs to be done to make our streets safer for women and girls by tackling street harassment, and the behaviours that lead to domestic abuse and sexual violence against women and girls.”
Alex Merola – For Britain Movement
Alex describes himself as “a 20-year-old patriot from Barnet”. He is standing for the far-right For Britain Movement, which was founded by anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters after she left UKIP in 2017.
“My main priority in this election is to oppose the wasteful and dangerous cycle lane bollards being installed on Barnet’s roads,” he said. “I also support small businesses and personal freedoms, therefore I oppose any form of local lockdown.
“I want to keep green bin collections free and protect local heritage from removal or renaming.”
Nicole Richer – Conservative Party
Nicole was born in Barnet and has lived in the borough her whole life. She works as a project manager in the education sector and is a school governor.
Nicole says she will fight hard to ensure that East Barnet receives its fair share of council spending, as her aims are to invest in roads, clean up neighbourhoods and invest in developing infrastructure for a greener Barnet.
She says she understands how important it is to maintain the beauty of East Barnet and will fight to stop overdevelopment and protect green spaces.
Another of her main priorities is to work with local police and the safer neighbourhood team to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.