Labour Haemorrhaging in Waltham Forest
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 27th July, 2009
Labour woes in the London borough of Waltham Forest continue unabated. Not long ago, Harry Cohen, MP for Leyton and Wanstead (against whom I stood in the 1992 general election) bowed to pressure and declared he was standing down at the forthcoming general election, having been the centre of unfavourable media attention about his claims for a second home outside London. The last Borough Council leader, Clyde Loakes, meanwhile, had relinquished his post in order to fight a parliamentary seat in the Midlands; how he must now wish he had stayed in situ! But to cap it all, Labour Councillor Milton Martin (Catthall ward, photo right) recently defected from Labour to the LibDems, bringing the LibDem group up to 21 members and in with a serious chance of becoming the largest party, if not taking control, in Waltham Forest next year. Two other Labour councillors, Shameen Highfield (also Cathall) and Faiz Yunis (Forest, where the other two sitting councillors are LibDems) have reportedly also informed the Council’s Chief Executive that they wish to leave the Labour group, though it is not yet certain what their future affiliation will be. I remember a time when the Liberals won their first council seat in Waltham Forest and they have certainly come a long way since then. This makes Waltham Forest a borough to watch next year, along with Haringey.