May 7 2010 By Ian Proctor
THE results of the Brent North and Brent Central elections are expected to be announced between 7am and 8am.
A combination of long, fiddly local election ballot papers and a turn-out estimated at between 60 and 70 per cent means the verification process, whereby the number of ballot papers in each ballot box is checked against the expected total, is taking longer.
The counts for Brent North and Brent Central elections began at approximately 11.30pm at Brent Town Hall in Forty Lane, Wembley, and it is expected that once all the papers are verified, the second step - the tallying of votes - will take between two and three hours.
Neither Labour's Barry Gardiner, who defends a majority of 5,641 in Brent North, nor Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather or Labour's Dawn Butler - who are expected to slug it out in the newly created constituency of Brent Central - are present, although their party's supporters and tellers are.
The Observer has spoken to several of their opponents who are waiting for the result declaration.
Conservative candidate for Brent Central, Sachin Rajput, said: "People are tired of Gordon Brown and of a failed Labour Government that has been in power for 13 years.
"Certainly I think we have fought this campaign very hard, just like the Conservative Party is fighting every seat.
"I'm not complacent. It's a tough fight in this seat, and we have two serving MPs fighting for the same seat. We'll have to wait and see what the result is.
"I would like to thank the residents of Brent for the opportunity to have campaigned in this election amd hopefully serve as their MP."
Green Party candidate for Brent North, Martin Francis, said: "I'm finding it quite difficult to gauge quite where we are at the moment.
"As a result of the television debates, the green voice hasn't been heard as much as it could have been.
"On the other hand, I hope the voters give us a solid foundation for the future.
"It's not just the environment but social justice. It's a combination of linking climate change, green jobs, welfare, education and healthcare, and that overall package is getting support.
"We have been doing solid work despite not being councillors, and we have taken part in lots of campaigns, and people know what we stand for."
Green Party candidate for Brent Central, Shahrar Ali, said: "Basically, we run a good, invigorating campaign, and we met a lot of people.
"We've explained what we're about and we're pushing it in various parts of Brent. We're looking forward to see the fruits of our labour.
"Quite a few politicians talk about [the environment] but they don't walk the walk, when it comes to it.
"At recent hustings, it was clear that we had recognisably stronger policies and three of the other candidates acknowledged that.
"I think we, the Green Party, are going to get our first MP in Brighton Pavilion, and that's tremendously exciting for everybody in the party."
Respect candidate for Brent Central, Abdi Duale, said: "I'm very happy with the results and I hope I will do better next time. I hope Brent will get a good leader from this one.
"It's been a great campaign, and interesting. I've learnt a lot. The main issue was homelessness and I hope that whoever becomes MP will tackle the homelessness that we have - about 17,000 people - and it's so sad.
"I took part in the Copland Hustings, where I came third [in a mock student ballot] from a fresh start, and I think Respect will improve.
"We're hoping to field more candidates in the next local election and we will give Brent a better choice."
Independent candidate for Brent Central, Dean McCastree, said: "I feel that people didn't take on board what I was trying to sell them, which was: up to £15,000 tax-free allowance for those earning up to £25,000 per year, and no tax on overtime pay, and that is to help the poor.
"We need to get people out there working and not have them relying on benefits. My leaflet was very informative and people didn't read it. I'm very disappointed by the response.
"I feel being able to work with the big parties as an independent, if we have a coalition government, people in Brent Central would benefit from that."