Politics of Hackney
The London Borough of Hackney is a Labour Party governed inner London borough. The fifty-seven seats representing the nineteen wards of the Borough are divided between the Labour Party with fifty; the Conservative Party with four, and Liberal Democrats three.
The Borough consists of two parliamentary constituencies: Hackney North and Stoke Newington (represented by Diane Abbott) and Hackney South and Shoreditch (represented by Meg Hillier; both Labour Party Members of Parliament). The Borough is a constituent part of the North East London Assembly seat with the London Borough of Islington and London Borough of Waltham Forest currently held by Jennette Arnold AM. The Borough also makes up a constituent part of the London constituency of the European Parliament.
Unlike most other English local authorities, the Borough is now governed by a directly-elected Mayor who is also the political leader of the council. The Mayor elected for a second term in office and representing the Labour Party, is Jules Pipe CBE and is supported by a Cabinet, Councillors and a Speaker, currently for 2010-2011 Councillor Sally Mulready; who fulfils the civic and ceremonial duties previously undertaken by the (non-political) mayor.
The Borough is divided into nineteen electoral wards, each returning three Councillors in a first three past the post system of elections. The Mayor of Hackney selects approximately nine Councillors to make up a Cabinet who take responsibility of the governance of the Borough's civil service, and represent the Mayor and Council on strategic bodies such as Team Hackney, the Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) Hackney Homes which manages the Borough's housing estates, and the Learning Trust, governing the provision of education within the Borough.
The quasi-judicial functions of the Council called Regulatory, are carried out by exclusively back-bench Councillors. The Planning Sub-Committee and the Licensing Committee make independent decisions that oversee both the private and public sector and decide upon a wide range of petitions for permission to build, demolish or otherwise transform the built environment and upon requests for license for the public display of wild animals thru public entertainment to the transport of hazardous waste. The other committees that make up Regulatory are the Standards Committee, Regulatory Committee, Pensions Sub-Committee, and Audit Sub-Committee.
The Mayor, Cabinet, and Regulatory are all held to account by the system of Overview and Scrutiny (O&S). This is formed into an Overview and Scrutiny Board, chaired normally by the leader of the opposition but currently by a Councillor nominated by the Conservative Party group, and the Scrutiny Commissions, the five sub-committees of the Board.
- Children and Young People Scrutiny Commission
- Community Safety and Social Inclusion Scrutiny Commission
- Governance and Resources Scrutiny Commission
- Health in Hackney Scrutiny Commission
- Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission
At the Hackney Council election on 6 May 2010 the Labour Party were returned with 50 councillors; winning six additional seats. The Conservative Party forms the largest opposition party on the council with four councillors; and the Liberal Democrats have three.
On the 4 May 2006 Hackney Council local elections the Labour Party were returned with forty-four Councillors, winning one seat and losing one. The Conservative Party formed the largest opposition party in the Council with nine Councillors, the Liberal Democrats won three seats, and for only the second time a candidate from the Green Party was elected.
For most of that time it has been a Labour run authority, although there was a period of Conservative administration from 1968 to 1972
In 1990, the United Kingdom Conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher introduced a Poll Tax, even though it carried only 12% popularity. The Hackney Labour Council introduced the new tax, the Community Charge at a rate of £499 per adult resident, which was £200 higher than mandated by the Prime Minister. This contributed to the Poll Tax Riots of 1990 which subsequently broke out in Hackney, greater London and other areas of the United Kingdom.
There was a period of changing coalitions during the 1990s due to a political cover up involving the government and councilors of Hackney regarding a serial pedophile. The council split following the upheaval after the Mark Trotter affair, known as "Trottergate", involving allegations of a cover up over a child abuse scandal when the Labour Party split between Councillors following the former mayor Nick Tallentire (which called themselves "The Hackney New Labour Group") and councillors following the former council leader John McCafferty, who eventually got the backing of the national Labour party.[awkward] Mark Trotter was a children's social service employee of the Hackney and Liverpool Councils who had been reported four times for child abuse, multiple times for suspicion of abuse and was reported for beating his boyfriend then illegally evicting him from their shared Council provided house.
After an independent inquiry was carried out by John Barrat, he stated the reason why Mark Trotter was not properly investigated by the council or terminated was "the fact that he [Mark Trotter] had quite an influential position in the trade union in a council where trade unions have a lot of power," Mr Barratt said. Mark Trotter died of an AIDS-related illness in 1995, shortly before the police informed the Hackney council they were about to prosecute him for sexually abusing five boys in 1980-81 when he lived in Merseyside, UK. None of the victims, 12 in all contracted HIV/AIDS related to the abuse.
There was a brief period when John McCafferty led a minority administration followed by a loose coalition of Hackney New Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. By the 1998 election all but two of the Hackney New Labour councillors defected to either the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives and a coalition was launched after the council between the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and two Green Party councillors. After this there was a coalition between Labour led by Jules Pipe and the Conservatives led by Eric Ollerenshaw. After the 2002 borough elections the Labour returned as the majority party.
The nineteen wards in that make up the borough are mostly made up of four polling districts, the exception being Dalston ward with five. Most are named after geographical locations or features with the exceptions of Chatham and Stoke Newington Central centred on Stoke Newington High Street, part of the Roman Ermine Street, the Central part both separating the surrounding parts of Stoke Newington that are parts of neighbouring wards and also apeing Hackney Central. The only ward named after street is Clissold for Clissold Crescent and not Clissold Park located in neighbouring Lordship ward. Most are named for the hamlets originally found there, Haggerston, Hoxton, and Wick, country estates between the hamlets, Brownswood after Brownswood Park and Lordship after Lordship Park, or the planned developments themselves, Cazenove, De Beauvoir, and Kings Park. Three are named after parks, Hackney Downs, Springfield Park, Hackney, and Victoria Park, East London although after a boundary change there no longer is any part of Victoria Park within the Borough. Two are named after bridges the first of the River Lea and the other Queensbridge after a bridge over the Regents Canal. Finally two are named after the two railway stations Hackney Central railway station and Dalston Junction.
The wards from May 2002 to May 2014 are:
- De Beauvoir
- Hackney Central
- Hackney Downs
- King's Park
- New River
- Stoke Newington Central
- Official Hackney Council Website
- Registering for the electoral register in Hackney
- Mayor and Council Elections 2010 accessed 26 May 2010
- The Speaker of Hackney Council accessed 27 May 2010
- Hackney Borough Cabinet 2008-09 accessed 5 June 2008
- Team Hackney accessed 5 June 2008
- Hackney Homes accessed 5 June 2008
- London Borough of Hackney Estates accessed 26 March 2013
- The Learning Trust accessed 5 June 2008
- Planning Committee accessed 5 June 2008
- Licensing Committee accessed 5 June 2008
- O&S accessed 5 June 2008
- Mayor and Council Elections 2006 accessed 10 May 2007
- LibDem joins Labour, saying ‘Ken is our friend’ Jewish Chronicle, 8 February 2008
- "Borough of hate and hit squads | Politics". The Guardian. 1999-03-19. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Česky. "Poll Tax Riots - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "Hettie Peters obituary". Hackney Citizen. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Children at risk: Council condemned in child abuse inquiry, The Independent, London, 8 Jan, 1998, by Glenda Cooper
- "Press Complaints commission". Pcc.org.uk. 1998-01-21. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Hackney council splits over inquiry, The Independent, London, September 13, 1996 by John Rentoul
- Council criticised over paedophile scandal, BBC, Wednesday, January 7, 1998
- "UK | Council criticised over paedophile scandal". BBC News. 1998-01-07. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "Spin Doctors, Media and the Left". Whatnextjournal.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Glenda Cooper (1998-01-08). "Children at risk: Council condemned in child abuse inquiry - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-07-30.