Southwark News is carrying out a unique project to encourage more people to vote in the council elections on May 5.
In a Gogglebox-style show, we are filming how four Southwark households react to what local politicians say about three key areas: housing, crime and education, and transport and the environment.
We are focusing on one part of the borough – Newington, near Elephant and Castle – which had the lowest voter turnout in the last elections in May 2018.
For the second episode on crime and education, Labour’s candidate John Batteson who is hoping to retain a seat for his party, the Liberal Democrat’s Abdul Gbla, who is hoping turn Newington yellow and once more Green Party candidate Clare Wood sat down with the News for a debate. The Conservative Party were invited to send one of their candidates, but again did not respond to our repeated requests to join in.
We then showed their answers to four households from a range of backgrounds in the ward to get their reactions: Ola, a mother of four and a Brandon Estate council tenant, mother-and-daughter Paula and Kate, also on the Brandon, Kym from the Newington Estate and her partner Les, and Neil and Emma, leaseholders in Oyster Court.
The focuses: estate inspections and public safety, community wardens and budget cuts, and youth centres and community facilities.
- NOTE – The News would like to make clear that despite repeated requests throughout our filming the Conservative Party in Southwark declined to join in our debates
WHY SHOULD YOU VOTE ON MAY 5TH?
- Your council makes important decisions and has responsibility for a huge range of things that affect your everyday life – from what housing gets built and where, to closing off roads to cars and keeping the streets clean and tidy.
- Individual councillors in your area are also meant to help you with problems that you come to them with.
- Southwark Council has been controlled by the Labour Party since 2010. Some 48 out of 63 councillors are from Labour. Fourteen more are from the Liberal Democrats, and there is one councillor who is independent. There are no Conservative or Green Party councillors at the moment, although people from both parties are running in May.
- Local elections are normally held every four years. The elections to choose new Southwark councillors will take place on May 5 this year. You vote by ward – the area which you live in – for whichever candidates you want to represent you. Depending on the ward, there are either two or three councillors to choose.
- Any adult from the UK or EU living in the UK, or any adult from the Commonwealth with permission to stay in the UK can vote, as long as they register.
- You can find your councillors on Southwark Council’s website by searching online for ‘find Southwark councillors’. Or CLICK HERE to find your councillor
- You must be registered to vote by 11.59pm on April 14. Register to vote here.