New party has its eye on prestige Hackney post

Hackney Town Hall Mare St London 2013 ©
Mustafa Korel of Hackney First July 2013 ©
Korel: team is growing

THE ESTABLISHED political party in Hackney is being challenged for the position of mayor – and it is not up for votes until next May.

Youth worker Mustafa Korel, who founded his own campaign group in March this year 2013, has today announced his candidature for the £76,000 job.

Korel’s organisation, Hackney First, is turning into a political party: Korel claims it will enter candidates in every council ward.

He says: “The only other candidate who we know will be seeking re-election is [present mayor] Jules Pipe, of the Labour Party. The other parties have yet to announce candidates.”

Labour has become strong and complacent, says Korel, who adds: “I’m offering something truly different – and it’s why my team continues to grow.”

Raised in Hackney, Korel works for a national charity. Before he founded Hackney First, he was an active member of the Green Party, although it no longer merits a mention in his publicity material.

It is unlikely that Korel will fare better than when he stood for the Greens in a council ward by-election last year. He came second to Labour, ahead of the Tory and Liberal Democrat candidates.

Some voters will nevertheless want to vote for a less-powerful candidate to make the ruling party more responsive.

Later news: 

Simon de Deney: LibDem hopeful supplied pic
De Deney: LibDem hopeful

Hackney Liberal Democratic Party has selected Simon de Deney, whom it describes as  “an actor, writer and director who has lived in Hackney for 18 years”.

When he chaired the governors of Shacklewell primary school, he helped young men to set up their own businesses to help them quit violent street gangs.

De Deney says: “When you work with young people who are incredibly talented and determined, but through circumstances have made poor choices, you feel you have to get more involved.”

If he became Mayor, his  main aim would be to eliminate the educational gap between the best and the worst-off children in the borough.

“But,” he adds, “when you talk to people in the streets and on the doorstep, the one issue that comes up again and again is the super-gentrification that is destroying our communities.

“If we’re elected, Hackney Liberal Democrats will radically reform the planning system so that we keep our communities mixed and thriving.”

David Altheer 011113

* Backstory: Cloud over Hackney democracyHackney First attacks attendance records 

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