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Labour landslide in Jubilee by-election
A LANDSLIDE victory for Labour has given the borough its youngest councillor.
At just 21, Rohini Simbodyal triumphed in her first council election in Jubliee Ward, gaining more than 50 per cent of the vote.
Ms Simbodyal gained 1,346 votes, almost 300 more than Conservative candidate Ricky Deller, who scored 1,049.
The other candidates lagged far behind, with Liberal Democrat Dawn Barnes of Cricketers Close, Southgate, gaining 69 votes, Green candidate Douglas Coker, of Foxwood Green Close, Enfield, gathering 60 votes, and UKIP's Madge Jones, of Greenwood Avenue, Enfield, walking away with 59 counts. Sarah McDonald, an independent candidate who pulled out of the election after the ballot papers had been printed, still attracted 41 votes.
Ms Simbodyal, of Lowden Road, Edmonton was able to make political headway on the back of Labour's campaign against this year's council tax rise and council reserves.
She said voters were “really mad” about the council's Conservative majority building up £70 million in the bank and not investing in the community.
She added: “I'm absolutely ecstatic. It's the most wonderful feeling in the world to know that at the age of 21 an electorate has put their faith in me. It's just incredible.”
Ms Simbodyal inspired a whole new generation of Labour supporters to come out and help with her campaign using a Barack Obama-style viral campaign on Facebook. She said her priorities as a councillor were to keep the streets clean, safe and green with policies such as tackling fly-tipping and installing alley gates, and to get the council to invest in facilities for young people.
“I want more money spent on youth services so that young people aren't hanging around on the streets.
“This election clearly shows that young people can do great things in the community and I want to encourage them to get involved and use their energies effectively.”
Mr Deller, of Croyland Road, Edmonton, said he was disappointed but already looking forward to the next council elections in 15 months time. He said: "The team and I worked extremely hard. The reserves in the bank are different to what Labour has said, we fought against that campaign and we continue to support what the council is doing. "But I am disappointed as I wanted to continue the work Chris Andrew had done."
His agent Adrian Croshaw said he thought the weather had put off voters.
Ms Barnes said Labour had “everybody out” encouraging voters to the polls despite the snowy weather.
She said she was not surprised at the result but the election had been “a great experience” for her.
The by-election was called last November after Cllr Chris Andrew, who had held the seat since 2002, died of cancer, aged just 31.