by Anood Al-Samerai on 24 May, 2014
It’s been an emotional couple of days, to be honest! I am delighted to have been re-elected to serve the people of Riverside ward with Eliza Mann and Hamish McCallum. My deepest thanks to local residents for choosing us to represent them at the council and I promise that we will always fight on their side. And thank you so much to all the volunteers who delivered leaflets, knocked on doors, made phone calls and gave so much other loving support.
However, I am also terribly sad to have lost some amazing colleagues in Southwark and across London. Dear friends who have worked so hard for their local communities over so many years and who simply did not deserve to lose. And I am deeply concerned about those councils where Labour has no real opposition now as that can never be a good thing for democracy or accountable decision making.
In Southwark, Labour had to fight extremely hard to win seats from us and we were certainly not wiped out. It was always going to be tough in wards like Grange where we had three new candidates and in Rotherhithe and South Bermondsey where Labour poured in resources and big names. Chaucer has always been a marginal ward although the Lib Dem team there has been simply exceptional.
We defied all expectation by winning two seats in East Dulwich thanks to a fantastic campaign for new schools. We also re-elected superb councillors in Cathedrals and Surrey Docks as well as new candidates in those wards. We now have a strong group of 13 Liberal Democrat councillors, including 6 women and 5 people from ethnic minorities. It’s a great mixture of experience and enthusiasm and we will continue to challenge Labour on housing and push them on jobs and childcare.
Labour have a strange slogan about coming back to Bermondsey. But they don’t seem to realise that, unlike them, the Liberal Democrats have never left. And we never will. Whatever happens, we will continue to fight on the side of residents across Southwark until ‘no-one is enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity’.
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