Preview: 14 Nov 2017

As your columnist returns from the European Quiz Championships in Zagreb garlanded with medals (I wish!) here’s one that was made earlier: a rare Tuesday by-election in the ancient city of London…


City of London Corporation; caused by the resignation of Common Councilman Pooja Suri Tank.

Through crystal roofs the sunlight fell,
And pencilled beams the gloss renewed
On iron rafters balanced well
On iron struts; though dimly hued.
With smoke o’erlaid, with dust endued.
The walls and beams like beryl shone;
And dappled light the platforms strewed
With yellow foliage of the dawn
That withered by the porch of day’s divan.

– John Davidson, “Liverpool Street Station”

For a rare Tuesday poll this week we are in the north-east corner of the ancient City of London. Here can be found the mainline railway terminus of Liverpool Street, the UK’s third-busiest railway station; the Broadgate development on the site of the former Broad Street railway station; and the 164m-high Broadgate Tower, completed in 2009 and the fifth-tallest building in the old City. The map shown here is extremely up-to-date, showing as it does the tunnels for the Elizabath Line which is due to open in December 2018.

In many ways the Corporation is a hangover from the way local government was done in days of olden time, and the main effect of that hangover is business voting. Bishopsgate ward has very few local residents and its electorate is dominated by sole traders and electors nominated by businesses located within the ward. Those businesses run the gamut from the Swiss bank UBS, whose UK headquarters are in the Broadgate development, to Coventry University which has a small campus off Devonshire Square.

Bishopsgate ward was uncontested in the last City elections in March, so despite the fact that this by-election comes after the Lord Mayor’s Show it’s unlikely to be an anticlimax. The City’s politics are non-partisan so all the candidates are independents. The establishment candidate would appear to Benjamin Murphy, an investment banker who is nominated by outgoing councilman Suri and other sitting councilmen for the ward. Former common councilman for the ward Patrick Streeter is trying to get back after standing down in May; he is a former Liberal Democrat figure who like Murphy, commutes into London from a village in the Harlow area. Completing the ballot paper is Timothy Becker, a barrister from Wimbledon.

Parliamentary constituency: Cities of London and Westminster
London Assembly constituency: City and East
ONS Travel to Work Area: London
Postcode districts: E1, EC2A, EC2M, EC2N, EC2P, EC3A

Timothy Becker (Ind)
Benjamin Murphy (Ind)
Patrick Streeter (Ind)