Teacher Luke Walker to stand for Greens in Brighton Queen’s Park council by-election

27 March 2024

Local teacher Luke Walker is the Green Party’s candidate for the Queen’s Park by-election on Brighton & Hove City Council. The by-election in the central Brighton neighbourhood will take place on Thursday 2 May. 

Luke, 46, is a green campaigner, a writer and a keen gardener on his allotment. A dad, Luke has lived with his family near Queen’s Park for 11 years and in Brighton for over 20 years.

He is passionate about protecting local services from the devastating cuts being made by the Tory government and by Brighton & Hove’s Labour-run council, after Labour abandoned many of the promises they made to residents at last year’s local elections.

The Queen’s Park by-election has been triggered by the resignation of scandal-ridden ex-Labour councillor Chandni Mistry, who had claimed thousands of pounds of allowances yet attended almost no meetings for months and failed to reply to residents’ communications.

Similar circumstances lie behind the resignation of Ms. Mistry’s mother Bharti Ghajjar in neighbouring Kemptown ward, where another by-election will be held on the same day.

“If elected, I will deliver from day one what people in Queen’s Park thought they were getting last May, but were cheated out of: decent, honest and diligent representation to help make the lives of residents better. I share residents’ anger about Labour’s failure to do proper background checks on their candidates.

“Through no fault of their own, local people who voted Labour last May ended up electing a councillor who it seems might not have been legally allowed to stand for election and, once elected, didn’t do much work.

“Former councillors Ms. Mistry and Gajjar claimed at least £23,000 in allowances from local taxpayers.

“Labour have also landed residents with a bill of tens of thousands of pounds for the council to hold these elections, three years before time.

“This money could instead have been spent on the essential local services that Labour are now cutting, such as schools, rough sleepers’ hostels and services for people with disabilities. I am today calling again for the Labour party to pay back into council coffers the funds they have wasted on these by-elections.”

Luke added, “This by-election boils down to Greens versus Labour. Greens’ commitment and dedication to the community versus the school-closing, promise-breaking Labour party, with their incompetent and unsafe recruitment process.

“We can fix this on 2 May and offer residents what they’ve been cheated out of for the last ten months. If elected, I will be an advocate for residents, taking action for social justice and standing against inequality.”

The Greens are strong challengers in Queen’s Park, with a track record of serving residents.

Former Green councillor Clare Rainey represented the area until last year and delivered community wins during her term including securing funding for the rebuilding of the Brighton Youth Centre on Edward Street and for the refurbishment of Queen’s Park playground.

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