Haringey Liberal Democrats are this weekend celebrating a decade of election successes in the borough. On 7th May 1998, Liberal Democrat campaigners June Andersen, Lynne Featherstone and Julia Glenn took three council seats to become the official opposition on the council, altering the course of Haringey politics.
On their way, Haringey Liberal Democrats have worked with local residents to secure some major successes, including the introduction of the 603 bus route, action on school places and the re-opening Muswell Hill Police station front counter.
Over the years, the Lib Dems have gone from strength to strength. Control of the borough is now on a knife-edge, as the party has 26 councillors, and is challenging Labour for office.
Former councillor Julia Glenn, one of the first Muswell Hill councillors, says:
“We really were frontier pioneers and a shock to the Labour strangle-hold on the borough.Haringey was one of the worst performing councils in the country, and the opposition Tories were on the way out. Labour simply weren’t used to any form of democratic scrutiny or anyone challenging the poor performance of the council they ran.
“When I look at our local MP Lynne Featherstone, our 26 councillors and what they have achieved, I am so proud to have been part of the team that lit the fuse, and ended Haringey’s one party state.It has really put the Labour council under pressure. Forty years is far too long to run a council and if they don’t shape up, they’ll be out. That’s how it should be.”
Lynne Featherstone, first elected a councillor in 1998 and now Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, adds:
“I learned a huge amount as a Haringey councillor.Standing up in the Haringey council chamber to 54 aggressive and heckling Labour councillors made speaking in the House of Commons seem like a breeze. But the reasons we stood then are just as relevant now.We still face a Labour council incapable of listening to the residents of Haringey.The cherry of the top of the cake will be taking the Council in 2010.”