Newnham has a long, proud history of electing Labour representatives to both city and county councils. For long periods during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, Labour ran the city council and Newnham was represented by a string of distinguished and hardworking councillors, including Nobel Prize winning test-tube baby pioneer, Robert Edwards, and past principal of Newnham College, Ruth Cohen.
More recently, all three city councillors and the county councillor for Newnham have been Liberal Democrats and from 2000 until 2014 Lib Dems controlled the city council. Sadly, their strategic planning proved inadequate so traffic problems escalated whilst house prices and the cost of rented accommodation in Cambridge soared, preventing many young people who had grown up in the city from settling here.
Although Newnham has had no Labour councillor, Newnham Labour has invited residents’ opinions in our regular Newnham Survey and regularly called on households in the ward, passing residents’ concerns on to the Labour group, now running the city council. We have also held monthly open meetings with speakers on a range of important topics, such as the economy, the housing market, public transport and British foreign policy.
In the city council elections of May 2014, Labour retook control of the city council and then increased its majority in both 2015 and 2016. Since then, Labour councillors have been working to make Cambridge a fairer, greener city in which housing is more accessible and prosperity is shared more equally. In the 2014, 2015 and 2016 local elections in Newnham, approximately a third of voters supported the Liberal Democrats whilst another third supported Labour (The other parties together made up the remaining third of the votes cast). On each occasion, the Liberal Democrat candidate won with Labour close behind. This means that, despite Labour securing a very similar vote to the Lib Dems, Newnham does not yet have a Labour voice on the city council. However, Labour’s vote in Newnham is steadily increasing and we hope that the Labour-led city council will soon include a Labour councillor from Newnham.