Feb 22 2013 By Ian Proctor
LABOUR retained its dominance in West Harrow ward by winning the by-election held in the wake of Brian Gate’s resignation.
Candidate Christine Robson took the seat with 48 per cent of the vote in yesterday's ballot and joins party colleagues William Stoodley and Kairul Kareema Marikar on Harrow Council.
The by-election was sparked by the resignation on January 10 of Brian Gate – the former portfolio holder for children, schools and families – following his police caution three days earlier for possession of indecent images of children.
Consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist Mrs Robson, a widow with a grown-up son of 29, said: “I’ve never stood as a councillor before so I had no weathervane to judge how it was going to go.
“I was delighted to win but I’m also very aware of the responsibility of being a councillor, and quite humbled, really, by being chosen by the people of West Harrow, and I’ll do my best to represent them.
“I felt a great deal of warmth from constituents on the doorsteps and people seemed to connect with me and they did talk to me about their concerns.
“I’ll be going to my first council meeting - the budget-setting full council meeting - tonight (Thursday).”
Second behind Mrs Robson, of Hillside Crescent, Harrow, was Julia Merison for the Conservative Party.
UK Independence Party candidate Jeremy Zeid came third and the Green Party’s Rowan Langley pushed the Liberal Democrats’ Pash Nandra into fifth place while independent Herbert Crossman came last.
Conservative group leader Councillor Susan Hall said: “The result is obviously very disappointing as I know how passionately Julia would have championed the interests of West Harrow residents.
“With three Labour councillors representing their ward again, West Harrow residents don’t have a local representative who will stand up to Labour’s planned council tax increase and service cuts.”
n Christine Robson / Labour / 1,042 votes / 48% of vote - ELECTED
n Julia Merison / Conservative / 761 / 35%
n Jeremy Zeid / UK Independence Party / 171 / 8%
n Rowan Langley / Green Party / 96 / 4%
n Pash Nandhra / Liberal Democrat / 68 / 3%
n Herbert Crossman / Independent / 53 / 2%
(Rejected ballot papers: 4 / Turnout: 28%)