Polls fight as ex-agent quits the council seat
08 November, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
A HIGH-PROFILE Labour councillor has announced she is quitting the Town Hall, triggering a by-electon battle.
Kat Fletcher, a former mayor of Islington, stood down in the St George’s ward with immediate effect.
Her decision means the poll for the council seat can take place on the same day as the general election – December 12.
Ms Fletcher, who was Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign agent during his first leadership campaign and works for the Labour Party nationaly, said: “It’s been an honour to have served the people of St George’s ward for the last six years, and I will cherish the memories I’ve made as a local councillor.
“However, the time is right for me to step aside and allow someone else to take up the reigns as the new councillor for St George’s ward.”
Voters in the ward, which runs north-west of the borough covering the Holloway prison site, will now get two ballot papers on general election day, although it is not yet known who will stand for Labour.
The Greens said they would be targetting victory, immediately announcing Natasha Cox as their by-election candidate. She attacked Labour’s record on the environment as “words without actions” and said a vote for her would bring back “an element of scrutiny” at the council.
Islington is a near one-party authority with only two councillors not part of the Labour Party.
Ms Cox, a mother-of-three, said: “Labour is always trying to say the right things on the environment, but whenever they have been in a position to do something about it they have failed.
Ms Cox added: “I think people are tired of the council’s lack of transparency. It is a one party state which needs more scrutiny.”
Ms Fletcher quit on Friday after more than six years as a councillor.
She was first elected in a by-election in March 2013 and regained her seat in 2014 and 2018.
The Liberal Democrats have also previously held two seats in the ward.