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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Green Party hails historic night as double win sees first councillors elected in Newcastle

Green Party members in Newcastle celebrated a historic night after gaining their first ever seats on the city council.

Having tried for years to break onto the local authority, two successes at the 2024 local elections count held at Northumbria University’s Sport Central came within a matter of minutes in the early hours of Friday morning.

The party had talked up the chances of Nick Hartley winning in Byker, a coup considering that a traditional Labour stronghold and the ward of council leader Nick Kemp.

But it was in fact Khaled Musharraf who claimed the honour of being Newcastle’s first Green councillor.

He beat Labour’s Nicu Ion in Elswick by just 107 votes, before Mr Harltey then romped to a convincing victory in Byker shortly afterwards.

Khaled Musharraf, newly elected green party councillor. Image: danielhollandnews

Mr Musharraf told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that it was “about time” the city had a Green voice in its council chamber, while promising to focus on “basic” improvements to the West End such as cleaning up its back lanes.

His Byker colleague added that he believed the double win could be “the start of something special” for the Greens in Newcastle.

Mr Hartley said: “It is a real win for the communities in Byker and Elswick. What I have loved about our campaigns is that both of us have been there in the communities we are a part of, getting to know them even better.

Nick Hartley watching votes being counted in The Local Election 2024 at Sports Central in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

“We recognise that there are a lot of things that haven’t been happening, things that need to be done, and we have started doing it. In Byker, whether it is concerns about litter or fly-tipping or not being able to pay the bills at the end of the month, having someone who listens and recognises what needs to change is so important.

“It is not going to be quick solutions and it will take a lot of hard work over the next few years, but I am ready for it.”

He claimed that voters in Byker and Elswick had told him that Labour had been elected in the wards previously “without necessarily needing to be present and hearing what matters to people”.

But that suggestion angered Cllr Kemp, who told the LDRS: “I think that is what he has said rather than what residents said. We have done a lot of door-knocking and been out there regularly, as we have for many years.”

He added: “He [Mr Hartley] has promised the world, he has promised that he is going to fix everything. I look forward to watching with delight the transformation that Nick is going to bring.

“I am proud of what we do in Byker. There is always more we could do. Veronica [Dunn] has just retired and she has been a long-time serving colleague and an amazing servant of Byker. We are proud to represent Byker for the Labour Party and we will continue to do so.”

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