Labour 'no hope' woken in middle of night after surprise win

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Labour council seat election take Hampstead Tories stronghold - Richard Osley
Labour council seat election take Hampstead Tories stronghold - Richard Osley

A Labour "no-hope" council candidate had to be woken up in the middle of the night after he unexpectedly won a seat in the Conservative stronghold of Hampstead Town.

Adrian Cohen, a banking and finance law solicitor, had reportedly done "no campaigning" ahead of the Camden Council election and was asleep as the shock result was announced.

The bewildered councillor walked into the count hall in the early hours of the morning to loud cheers from his supporters after becoming the first ever Labour candidate to win the ward, The Camden New Journal reports.

Speaking to the Ham and High newspaper, Mr Cohen said: "I wanted to help the party by standing.

"I want to bring residents' concerns to the heart of the council because there hasn't been a Labour councillor to give voice to their particular concerns."

Mr Cohen was said to be a "paper" or "no-hope" candidate ahead of the election.

A paper candidate is someone who stands for a party in an electoral division where they typically have low levels of support.

Although the candidate has little chance of winning, a major party will usually make an effort to ensure it has its name on the ballot paper in every constituency.

Richard Osley, the editor of the Camden New Journal, posted on Twitter before the results were announced.

"So close in what is supposed to be Tory stronghold in Hampstead Town," he said.

"Labour may even have won a seat and have to get their candidate out of bed in time [to] be here for a declaration.

"They didn’t do any work so candidate was told he wouldn’t be needed here."

Georgia Gould, the Labour council leader, praised Mr Cohen for becoming the "first Labour councillor in Hampstead Town".

She added: "Tonight has been an overwhelming and sometimes surprising victory for Labour."

Across Camden it was a dismal night for the Conservatives as their candidates were whittled down from seven to three.

Labour retained control of the council with 47 seats.

Mr Cohen has been connected to Labour for many years and is a chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

He is also a member of the Labour Party Antisemitism Advisory Board, set up as a result of the Equality and Human Rights Commision’s report in 2020.

The report highlighted multiple areas where the party's "approach and leadership to tackling anti-Semitism was insufficient".

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