Preview: 20 Mar 2018

A rare Tuesday by-election this week in the ancient city of London…


City of London Corporation; caused by Common Councilman Prem Goyal being elected Alderman for Portsoken ward in December last year.

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”

That was John Davidson’s poem Liverpool Street Station, written some decades before the station’s early-1990s redevelopment. The UK’s third-busiest railway station, Liverpool Street lies within the Bishopsgate ward of the ancient City of London. Like much of the City this is a ward of offices and businesses ranging from the Swiss bank UBS, whose British headquarters are in the Broadgate development next to Liverpool Street station; to Coventry University, which has a small campus off Devonshire Square; to smaller businesses and sole traders. Recent developments within the ward include the 164m Broadgate Tower, the fifth-tallest building in the City, and the tunnels for the Elizabeth Line which appear on the map here but are not due to open to passengers until December this year.

Liverpool Street is one of the stations on the London edition of the board game Monopoly, and it’s businesses which monopolise Bishopsgate ward’s electorate. There are very few local residents here, and the voters list is dominated by sole traders and electors nominated by the ward’s businesses. That’s just one of the ways that the City Corporation is a hangover from the way local government was done in days of olden time; another is the presence of the Wardmote, a public meeting held within the ward which is effectively a hustings. The Wardmote for this by-election took place yesterday before being adjuourned for the poll to take place, and it will reconvene on Tuesday evening for the declaration of the result.

Bishopsgate ward was uncontested in the 2017 City elections but attracted three candidates for a by-election in November last year. Six candidates were nominated for this by-election, but Dawn Wright has withdrawn and Timothy Becker had his nomination papers ruled out of order; both Wright and Becker are contesting the City’s Billingsgate ward by-election on Thursday. Taking the four remaining candidates in alphabetical order, Joanna Abeyie is a journalist and social campaigner who founded a company which recruits people from diverse backgrounds for jobs in the creative industry. Adedamola Aminu is a Lambeth councillor and former Mayor of Lambeth who is standing as an official Labour candidate. Shravan Joshi is senior warden of the Worshipful Company of Fuellers. Completing the ballot paper, and returning from November’s by-election in which he was a rather distant runner-up, is former Common Councilman for this ward and former Lib Dem figure Patrick Streeter.

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

Joanne Abeyie (Ind)
Adedamola Aminu (Lab)
Shravan Joshi (Ind)
Patrick Streeter (Ind)