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New Councillor Henna Chowdhury

Henna triumphs in Worthing

WORTHING has its first Muslim Bangladeshi woman councillor. The elections on 2nd May saw Labour candidate Henna Chowdhury elected to represent Gaisford ward on the 37-member Worthing Borough Council.

Worthing, a sleepy town on the south coast, near Brighton, has a population of around 100,000 – making it around a third the size of Tower Hamlets. At the last census, the ethnic minority population was just under 3%. Its two Tory MPs – East Worthing & Shoreham’s Tim Loughton and Worthing West’s Peter Bottomley – both have safe seats.

However, since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader of the Labour Party, a crowd of community campaigners have joined the local party – which has begun taking up local issues and seen electoral breakthroughs result. Henna topped the poll in her ward with 1,213 votes, ahead of a Tory candidate on 951 and a Lib Dem on 418.

Henna was reported to have been overwhelmed by the result. She humbly told the local newspaper, the Worthing Herald that she never thought that she would be “the first Asian Bangladeshi woman and a muslim person to get into Gaisford and break their record.” She thanked residents for voting for her and promised to represent them and deliver on her election promises.

Henna’s election would not have been possible without the wider Labour campaign based on delivering “for the many, not just the few” all year round, not just during election times. In August 2017 Labour won a by-election and Rebecca Cooper became Worthing’s first Labour councillor in over 40 years. In May last year a further four Labour candidates joined her on the Council.

Five Labour candidates were elected this month, all taking seats from the Tories and doubling the size of the Labour Group. The Conservatives have hung on to control with 22 councillors, but in addition to the ten Labour councillors they face opposition from three Lib Dems, one UKIP councillor and an independent member.

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