Conservatives shuffle election slate in Hampstead and Belsize

THERE’S another shake-up for Camden’s Conservatives this evening, with two new council election candidates being named in wards they currently hold.

Former councillor Kirsty Roberts (pictured) is back in the UK (she briefly moved to the United States) and wants another go at the Town Hall. She will stand in Belsize, where we learned that departing group leader  Claire-Louise Leyland will not seek another term. The Tories will be happy with that pick as Cllr Roberts won friends on both sides of the chamber during her previous stint. It also answers some of the criticism that the Conservatives were turning to too many men, with an all-male slate in the safest Tory ward of Frognal and Fitzjohn’s.

Meanwhile, Maria Higson has been selected to stand in Hampstead Town following news that long-time candidate Hamish Hunter has pulled out of the election for personal reasons.

Belsize is considered one of Labour’s target seats ahead of the borough wide local elections in May, while gung ho campaigners in Hampstead believe the wind is with the party and they can make a surprise breakthrough in prize Conservative territory.

Internal party paperwork shows more doorstep contacts in this ward than anywhere else over the last fortnight and there was a special thanks for this from election command in a briefing sent to members over the weekend. This doesn’t mean a direct translation into votes and the Tories in Hampstead have regularly won laurels from their own party for the amount of door knocking they get through in that ward, but it’s a clue to where the resources are being targeted.

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