Havering’s Vibrant Democracy

Havering’s election on May 5th gives voters a choice of 199 candidates.1 They’ve been working hard on the issues that they think matter to the people of Havering. At the time of writing (30th April), postal voting means that about a third of the votes have been cast. How many potential voters will make the effort of voting in person?

Previous experience says ‘Abstentions’ will win on the 5th May. A significant majority of voters won’t vote.

Upminster’s Linda Hawthorn trounced the opposition in 2018 but failed to get a majority of the electorate. That ward held the largest turnout in 2018 with 45.5%, (a 54.5% Abstention rate).2 Does it matter? In her case no but it feels wrong. Conservatives have ruled Havering for 20 years with 16 years in coalition. Thus, Conservatives have been in control with a minority of seats and a minority of votes for 20 years.3

Local democracy needs reform but is highly unlikely to get it.

Addendum: Mayoral election for Manchester, 2021

In Greater Manchester Andy Burnham won an outright majority without preference votes. Abstentions amounted to 67.3% of the electorate and the remaining 34.7% was divided between nine candidates. Andy received 67.3% of 34.7% or, 23% of the total electorate.4


1 For a comprehensive list of candidates Notice of Poll and Statement of Persons Nominated (havering.gov.uk)

2 Local elections | Election results | The London Borough Of Havering

3 Robert Benham is a cabinet member and had a thumping majority in Brooklands ward. But! The turnout in 2018 was 32.5%. So, before opposition votes were counted he’d been passively or actively rejected by 67.5% of the electorate.

4  The UK Mayoral Elections, 2021 | Odeboyz’s Blog (oedeboyz.com) Also in 2021 there were two parliamentary byelections where the result was deceptive. See

When Does an Election Become an Undemocratic Lottery? | Odeboyz’s Blog (oedeboyz.com)


4 thoughts on “Havering’s Vibrant Democracy

  1. After watching all three Conservative councillors of Brooklands (now Rush Green and Crowlands ward) as well as Labour’s support in overdevelopment, local residents have completely rejected both mainstream parties. This ward has many ignored important issues like loud noise pollution, air pollution, HGVs illegal parking on footpath, double yellow lines and on people’s driveways even, litter on roads and many other neglected issues. Now H.R.A has provided locals a third option which seems working for locals and me Tracey and Gemma has taken this initiative to work for locals and to represent this ward. I started my Facebook page “We will be heard-Havering” in early part of 2019 to raise local issues and I am glad to see that people are using that platform to raise their daily issues and we get good results as well. About 8-9 months ago, some of us joined H.R.A because it is a local party works for locals and not controlled by Westminster politics.


    1. Thank you for your comment

      You’re quite right that intensely important local issues can get buried when the councillors don’t live in the ward. Also the Conservatives have taken the ward for granted as they have very large majorities and feel *safe*. As I understand it the Labour candidates also live in the ward and so it’s unfair to tar them all with the same brush. However you are also right to not just stand by and moan. I hope that things turn out well for your ward with either Labour or HRA.


  2. I won’t be voting for any party that wants to continue with polluted air and who dont want to do anything to address the issue in fear of upsetting those with dirty cars. So that’s the two main contenders of Tories and RA not considered. I’ll have to check the rest.

    All parties need to support ulez and get a scrappage scheme going. Does anybody know how many cars will be affected? Just old diesels I expect.

    The RA and Tories will bow to drivers.


    1. Thank you for your comment

      My understanding is that ULEZ is Khan’s policy and he intends to extend it to the whole GLA area. It’s currently up for consultation and could be implemented at the end of next year. I don’t know what the scrappage scheme comprises or what the eligibility clauses are.


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