Labour puts the squeeze on Conservatives in Greenwich

Labour secured a resounding victory in Greenwich, winning 52 of the 55 council seats, with Conservatives dropping from nine seats to three.

Greenwich has been a Labour stronghold since 1971, but it was unclear how contested the wards would be after the boundaries were redrawn in 2021, increasing the total wards from 17 to 23 and total council seats from 51 to 55.

However Labour incumbents, including Greenwich council leader Danny Thorpe who won re-election with 1,878 votes, largely had nothing to fear.

Thorpe hailed the victory as a referendum against national Tory leadership.

He said: “In all the wards I’ve generally been in, time after time, resident after resident, there’s that sense of people being let down, abandoned.

“The cost-of-living crisis has had a massive impact on people’s lives and in the end, I just hope that people do use their votes to vote for a council that will support them versus a government that has abandoned them.”

Blackheath Westcombe incumbent Leo Fletcher also credited Labour’s sweep of the ward to record turnout among estate residents.

Labour has not held all three Blackheath Westcombe seats since 2002, and there was an outburst of emotion when first-time candidate Christine St Matthew-Daniel beat Conservative Geoff Brighty for his seat, 2,170 to 1,621.

Despite Labour’s strong showing, Conservative and Green candidates put up a strong fight and pledged to hold Labour to its promises to do better by residents.

After a recount, Conservatives Matt Hartley and John Hills won re-election to two of the three seats in Mottingham, Coldharbour & New Eltham, narrowly beating Labour candidate Donald Austen.

Labour candidate Cathy Dowse picked up the third seat.

Hartley pledged to work with Dowse, before seeming to suggest that his party could flip the seat in 2026 by re-electing Roger Tester, who lost to Dowse.

Hartley said: “We’ve always done politics in a very civil fashion in the south of the borough, and I know that we will continue to do that and look forward to working together across party lines for our residents, which is the most important thing.

“And I know that Roger Tester will be back, and in four years, making this speech from this podium.”

The three Green candidates in East Greenwich came close to Labour’s numbers, winning well over a thousand votes each and coming within a few hundred votes of the three Labour winners.

Labour candidate Maisie Richards Cottell said: “I just want to say thank you to the Green party because you threw the kitchen sink at it and so did we, and I think we’ve all become better candidates for it.”

Following his party’s loss, Green candidate Matt Browne responded: “It was a very, very closely fought campaign, it’s frustrating we didn’t quite make it today, but I think we will next time.

“We’re not going away, we’re going to continue working for that community to make it greener and better.”

Browne said the Greens will ensure Labour follows through on its promises to reduce traffic and cancel the controversial Silvertown Tunnel between Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown, which critics say will increase congestion and air pollution.

Browne credited the Greens with pushing Labour toward these campaign positions but warned that the party must do better on environmental issues.

He added: “We will keep pushing them to do that, and if they do not, we will hold them to account at the ballot box next time.”

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