Satisfaction in Hampstead as anti-war voters take their revenge

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Indy Politics

From the market stalls of Camden Town to the streets of Hampstead, there was a sense of satisfaction yesterday at ousting the Labour borough council after more than three decades in control.

Residents were united in sending out a protest to Downing Street. As a result the Liberal Democrats gained 20 seats and the Tories and Green Party were also winners with no overall control in Camden borough for the first time since 1971.

Nowhere was antipathy towards Tony Blair more apparent than in Hampstead, an epicentre of the anti-war movement thanks in part to the local MP Glenda Jackson and the former independent MP Martin Bell. "It was a protest about Mr Blair and the lies he told about the Iraq war," said the architect Nicholas Wood, who voted Liberal Democrat. "It's the fact that he was prepared for thousands of civilian casualties and had no satisfactory aid plan."

A few miles away in Camden's Inverness Street Market, locals complained that the council has failed to act over drug dealing and it was accused of not supporting small traders along Inverness Street.

"Camden has been arrogant, autocratic and run like a mafia," said Juliet Purssell, who works at The Owl bookshop in Kentish Town, and who voted Green. "They are very hard about parking and don't seem to care about small businesses."

Steve Deneen insisted that locals have given Labour a bloody nose but he would back the party in a national ballot. "The big issue for me was drug dealers on our streets," he said.