Labour remains in control of Hammersmith and Fulham after winning 40 seats during Thursday’s local council election, with the Conservatives unable to make up any ground from 2018.
Prior to Thursday’s election, Labour held 35 seats in the borough while the Conservatives had just 11. Labour now have 40 seats while the Tories just hold 10.
Before the first tally had even come in, Labour were confident, with Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, telling South West Londoner that the party was pleased with its work over the last year.
“I’m delighted that we have frozen council tax this year. We are one of the few councils in the country to have done it,” Cowan said.
“We need to be firmly on our residents’ side, because there are a lot of people going to bed worrying about how to rise to the challenge of higher energy bills and a higher cost of living.”
Meanwhile, Labour candidate for Fulham Reach, Omid Miri, told SWL that he was quietly confident. Saying: “I don’t want to toot my own horn, but we have worked very hard.”
With the tally complete, and votes about to be counted, Labour candidates worked the counting room, walking slowly from ward-to-ward table, joking with officials. In contrast, the Conservatives bunched together apprehensively.
Following Local Government Boundary Commission recommendations, the number of wards in Hammersmith and Fulham increased from 16 to 21, with the roster of councillors rising from 46 to 50.
Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, returning conservative candidate for Fulham Town, was concerned that the changes had unsettled some voters.
She said: “people do not like change, there used to be three councillors in some of these wards. But now there are so many with two, if one of you gets ill, it is just not as smooth.”
Despite her reservations, Brocklebank-Fowler held on to the newly drawn Fulham Town ward.
Mercy Chinyere Umeh, Labour Councillor for Shepherd’s Bush Green ward told SWL that that her first priority was housing: “The first thing I’ll be doing is about housing, because we have had so many people complaining about that, the damp and the mould”.
In March 2021, the Housing Ombudsman revealed that Hammersmith and Fulham was one of the worst landlords in London, following excessive delays in responding to complaints about damp and mould
Hammersmith Bridge also featured heavily in election night previews, but no one cited it as being on top of their to-do list.
Leader Stephen Cowan chose to focus on the national context and used his closing speech to make some predictions, he said: “Tonight there is a change, because what we see around our country is that people see that it doesn’t have to be that way.
“That is why Wandsworth is red, and I’ll make a prediction, that’s why Barnet is going to go red, Westminster is going to go red and in two years’ time Britain is going to go red.”