‘In with a shot’: Camden councillor set for by-election battle after Boris Johnson’s shock resignation

Cllr Danny Beales. Photograph: Julia Gregory

Residents in Boris Johnson’s former constituency could be answering their door to Camden politicial activists over the next few weeks after his shock resignation triggered a by-election.

Labour councillor Danny Beales grew up in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency and experienced homelessness there.

He was selected as his party’s candidate to fight the seat this winter and is now stepping up a gear after Johnson quit over a report into his alleged role in Partygate.

At the time of Cllr Beales’ selection in January, Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Simon suggested to full council that most of the chamber would wish him luck in trying to oust the former Prime Minister.

He said: “I think everyone or probably everyone here would wish him well in his efforts to boot Boris Johnson out of parliament.”

His comments were greeted with applause from some councillors in the Labour-controlled borough.

Simon added: “I would just observe that as the election gets closer it will become an increasing draw on Cllr Beales’ time and I hope he doesn’t neglect his substantial responsibilities here in Camden.”

The Liberal Democrats by-election candidate is Blaise Baquiche.

Cllr Beales has spoken in the council chamber about how his family was made homeless twice from private rental homes and lived in temporary accommodation when he was a child.

The 34-year-old has been campaigning in Uxbridge and South Ruislip for some time and was joined by frontbenchers and activists at a rally last weekend.

It followed a lengthy planning meeting he attended on Thursday and cabinet the night before.

Speaking at the rally on Saturday, Cllr Beales said: “I think we are in with a shot.”

He has to overturn Johnson’s 7,210-plus majority from the 2019 general election. Labour took second place with 37 per cent of the vote.

Beales first joined Camden Council in 2014 and has since risen through the ranks to become cabinet member for new homes and jobs.

In last year’s council elections, he was returned as a Camden Square councillor with 1,309 votes.

The Agar Grove housing development and West Kentish Town regeneration projects are among the projects he has challenged to improve housing and put a dent in the borough’s lengthy waiting list.

Update: this article was amended at 10.40am on 13 June 2023. Cllr Beales does not hold any role at London Councils as was previously stated.

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