Leading communal figure Adrian Cohen has revealed he was woken in the middle of the night to be told he had unexpectedly won a seat for Labour in the Conservative stronghold of Hampstead Town.
The London Jewish Forum founder said he had agreed to stand for Labour in the ward, which had always previously been Tory, just to “help the party out”.
Cohen, a banking and finance expert, admitted he had done “no campaigning” ahead of last Thursday’s local election, and had gone to sleep believing the seat would remain in the hands of the Tories.
But in a clear sign of the improved reputation for Labour under current leader Keir Starmer, Cohen got over 1,000 votes, leaving him easily elected in the seat.
Cohen was reportedly woken by party colleagues and told to come down to the Camden council count.
He was loudly cheered as he walked into the building ahead of the shock result being declared.
He told Jewish News:”It was an incredible night and it feels like quite a breakthrough in terms of community relations.
“Although, of course, they remain a work in progress.”
Cohen, who represents Highgate Synagogue on the Board of Deputies, has been connected to Labour for many years and is a vice chair of Labour Friends of Israel.
He is also a member oof the Labour Party Antisemitism Advisory Board, set up as a result of the Equality and Human Rights Commision’s report in 2020.
He said he now wanted to “bring residents’ concerns to the heart of the council because there hasn’t been a Labour councillor to give voice to their particular concerns.”
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