The nail-biter of 1986…

When Labour came close to winning Westminster

Friday, 13th May — By Tom Foot

Orley Quick and the Hairy Heroines performing 'As We Like It' on 31.01.17 at Resolution

Joe Hegarty ‘led from the front’

LABOUR has only ever come close to winning Westminster City Council once – in 1986 under the leadership of Joe Hegarty.

The former Church Street councillor, who died last year, had spent two years masterminding the election campaign.

The contest proved a real nail-biter with Dame Shirley Porter’s Tories polling 41.1 per cent of the vote to Hegarty’s 40.6 per cent.

The Lib / SDP alliance polled 17.2 per cent. There was a 39.6 per cent turnout.

In his obituary in the Extra last year, Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg said: “Joe led from the front and after two years of patient hard work, the Labour group took 27 of the council’s 60 seats in May 1986, just 106 votes short of becoming the largest party. Such was the shock to the Conservative leader Shirley Porter that she put in train the notorious ‘Homes for Votes’ scandal.”

Dame Shirley polled 1,104 votes in Hyde Park ward that year with Dimoldenberg getting 1,882 votes in Harrow Road, replacing Hegarty as leader after the election.

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