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Leyton ward is one of the electoral wards of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, situated in London, England. The ward is the known district of Leyton and is part of the parliamentary constituency of Leyton and Wanstead and the London Assembly constituency of North East. Leyton ward returns three borough councillors.
It is a very diverse, ethnically mixed ward. Sixty-three per cent of Leyton’s residents come from a Black or Minority Ethnic (BME) community - mostly from the African-Caribbean and Pakistani communities. Since May 2004, however, when the European Union expanded to take in twelve new countries, there has been a rise in the number of Eastern European people coming to live in Leyton. Many have settled there to work, study and start a new life.
Leyton has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Waltham Forest, the highest rate of unemployment, the highest percentage of pupils receiving free school meals, and the Beaumont Road estate - in the north of the ward - has been assessed as the fifth most deprived estate in Britain. Alongside two other large estates - the Oliver Close and the Leyton Grange - the existence of the Beaumont also makes Leyton the most densely populated ward in Waltham Forest. Some estimates are that up to forty per cent of residents are living in overcrowded conditions.
Half of the ward’s population is less than thirty years old.
In the council elections of 2006, the Labour candidate, Miranda Grell made spurious and potentially libellous allegations about her opponent, the homosexual Liberal Democrat candidate Barry Smith. While Smith's Liberal Democrat running mates were elected, he was not, and Grell was elected to the third position. Grell was found guilty of making false statements to aid her campaign, in which she accused him of being a paedophile in her canvassing with local residents.
Presiding Judge Woolard said he did not accept her conspiracy theory, as "on two occasions in making statements that were untrue and damaging to one of your fellow candidates", and found her guilty of falsely slurring her opponent.
The by-election for Leyton ward on 14 February 2008 was won by Liberal Democrat Winnie Smith.