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Four candidates for Cambridge City Council by-election in King’s Hedges revealed

Four candidates will compete in a Cambridge City Council by-election.

The poll in King’s Hedges ward will be held on Tuesday, July 4, following the resignation of Labour councillor Alex Collis.

Alex Collis resigned from the city council on May 15. Picture: Keith Heppell
Alex Collis resigned from the city council on May 15. Picture: Keith Heppell

Former deputy council leader Ms Collis resigned on May 15, after being re-elected to the seat just 10 days earlier.

It followed the surprise decision from Cambridge Labour to replace their leader, Cllr Anna Smith, with Cllr Mike Davey following the election.

Zarina Anwar will be hoping to hold on to the seat for the ruling Labour party, while Jamie Dalzell will compete for the Liberal Democrat opposition.

The Greens, who hold three seats on the council, will be represented by Elizabeth May, while the Conservatives will be hoping Mohamed Hossain can secure the party’s first seat on the authority, having come second in the May 5 poll, just 148 votes behind Ms Collis.

Announcing her decision, Ms Collis said: “I have today resigned as a city councillor. There are many reasons behind this, which I’m happy to discuss privately, but ultimately I found myself unable to remain part of the current city Labour group.

Labour celebrations at the May 5 election. Picture: Keith Heppell
Labour celebrations at the May 5 election. Picture: Keith Heppell

“I don’t care for the current direction it’s taking, for some of the behaviours that I’ve seen, and most importantly how it appears to have lost its way in listening to residents on the important issues. I wish I could’ve stayed, and done more of the work I really care about. But I couldn’t.

“As you can imagine, I feel really sad about this. To be honest, I’m devastated. But I was an activist before I was a councillor, and I will be an activist long after today. I don’t need to be elected to the city council to do that.

“Thank you to all those who ever voted for me, to all those who pushed me to do better, and especially to the King’s Hedges team for all their support. And to the wonderful officer teams in open spaces and community services, with whom I worked closely.

I remain proud of all the work that I did, with others, on food justice. Time now to look after myself a bit more, to rest and recover. I might be quite quiet for a bit, but you can’t keep me down for long.”

The result of the May 5 poll in King’s Hedges was:

Alexandra Collis – Lab 798 ELECTED
Mohamed Hossain – Con 650
Adrian Matthews – Green 285
Fionna Tod – Lib Dem 305

There was a noticeable swing in votes towards the Conservatives as congestion charge proposals from the Labour and Lib Dem-controlled Greater Cambridge Partnership influenced voting. However, it was not enough for the party to gain its first seat, and the council make-up after the election - in which a third of seats were up for grabs - was:

Labour – 27 seats (-2)
Lib Dems 10 seats (+1)
Greens 4 seats (+1)
Ind – 1 seat

The by-election will be the first test for Cllr Davey’s leadership and the decision to replace Cllr Smith.

Candidates for by-election for King’s Hedges ward, Cambridge City Council, on July 4, 2023

Zarina Anwar – Labour
Jamie Dalxell – Liberal Democrats
Mohamed Hossain – Conservative
Elizabeth May – Green Party

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