Brighton by-election 2021: the candidates in the Hollingdean and Stanmer ward

Seven candidates are standing in a by-election in Hollingdean and Stanmer ward for a seat on Brighton and Hove City Council on Thursday, May 6.

Green candidate Zoë John
Green candidate Zoë John

The seat became vacant when Labour councillor Tracey Hill resigned to move to Derbyshire for family reasons.

The seven candidates are Emma Dawson-Bowling née Hogan (Conservative), Leila Erin-Jenkins (Labour), Nigel Furness (Independent), Alex Hargreaves (Liberal Democrat), Zoë John (Green), Des Jones (UKIP) and Rob Somerton-Jones (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition).

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Each candidate was sent questions which were submitted by community groups and voters. Here we feature the answers – from those who responded – to the questions: why do you want to be a councillor for Hollingdean and Stanmer and what do you think you will bring to the role.

Liberal Democrat candidate Alex Hargreaves

Green candidate Zoë John said: "I’ve been fuelled by watching central government’s handling of the last year and the never-ending policies and actions that don’t consider most people – let alone consult them on what’s happening.

"I got bored of being cross and wanted to put that energy into something positive.

"For me, this is about my community. I live in the ward. I’m already active in the ward and my kids go to school here. I want to be a voice for you.

"I’m a researcher in human-centred design, where we put people at the centre of decisions. I want to make sure the council does this too.

Conservative candidate Emma Dawson-Bowling, who is better known by her maiden name Emma Hogan

"We all have different lived experiences, so it’s vital that we don’t put people into categories based on assumptions, just because it’s easier or because we haven’t asked.

"I’ll bring my knowledge – and my experience as a local resident – to be the voice for my ward in the development of our city, our communities and our futures."

Liberal Democrat candidate Alex Hargreaves said: "I was born and grew up in Brighton and, while I moved away for a few years to go to university and work, I moved back a few years later.

"While I absolutely love Brighton, there are some issues with the city that can be improved – for example, the lack of affordable housing in the city – and I would like to help make the improvements.

Labour candidate Leila Erin-Jenkins

"I have a varied background, having worked in teaching, recruitment and now the energy industry.

"All of these jobs have involved tenacity, pragmatism, problem-solving and communication skills, which align well with the requirements of being a good councillor.

"Additionally, I want the best for Brighton, so I will also bring enthusiasm and willingness to work hard to improve the city."

Conservative candidate Emma Dawson-Bowling, who is better known by her maiden name Emma Hogan, said: "To protect the urban fringe in Hollingdean and Stanmer from development.

Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Rob Somerton-Jones

"One thousand and two residents who signed a petition opposing the development of Coldean Lane were ignored by their own Labour/Green councillors, who voted against them.

"I am standing to give residents their voice in the council.

"The ward has been neglected by Labour/Greens, with many parts of the public realm in a poor condition.

"The council has a £1 billion budget and I want to see us getting our fair share of attention.

"As a doctor working within the NHS locally, I came to realise that mental health problems tend to arise from the environment – local environment. Improve that and with it people’s wellbeing. What we all want ultimately is to be happy and healthy. I would look to find ways to make changes to the environment using both my professional skills and local knowledge.

"I also believe that if decisions are being made about our health, a doctor should be at the table."

Labour candidate Leila Erin-Jenkins said: "I’m a local mum and I want to see positive change in the area that will benefit those who live and work here.

"I’m an experienced housing campaigner and have successfully defended cuts to children’s services, and I would like to be in a position to do more for my community.

"I want to protect local schools from academisation, drive rogue landlords out of our city and be a strong voice for Hollingdean and Stanmer residents on the council.

"I’m a working-class mum, I grew up on a council estate in Brighton and I’ve lived here all my life.

"People like me are woefully under-represented on the council.

"I bring my campaigning knowledge, a new energy and a deep understanding of the difficulties facing our residents through my lived experience.

"I have a strong moral compass and I’m not afraid to stand up for the rights of residents, protect our services and fight for our local area."

Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Rob Somerton-Jones said: "I want to be a councillor because TUSC are determined to offer a genuine alternative to the pro-austerity politics that has come to dominate the mainstream parties.

"Residents need a fighting voice on the council or further budget cuts and austerity are inevitable, and our communities cannot endure this.

"I want to be a councillor who will stand up for working communities, not sell them out or sell them off. I refuse to vote for cuts.

"I am young, passionate and determined, while my party is sincere about making positive change.

"We have been supportive of RISE and their campaign, while sitting councillors have not, and have fought against the cutting of their funding.

"I’m also supported by an excellent team of people who have collective decades of experience in the trade union and activist worlds and who are as equally passionate as me about stopping austerity politics. We bring a new, community-focused strategy."

Postal voting has now closed but residents in the Patcham ward with a polling card can vote at the polling station listed on Thursday between 7am and 10pm. The votes will be counted on Friday, May 7.

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