Respect supporters were celebrating a strong showing in a council by-election held in the Stonebridge ward of Brent, north west London, on Thursday of this week.
The party came third with 8.6 percent of the vote, beating both the Tories and the Greens. Labour held the ward, beating off a challenge from the Liberal Democrats.
The result shows the potential for Respect to attract votes as a political alternative to the mainstream parties' agenda of privatisation and war.
Respect activists involved in the campaign attributed its success to the strength of the local candidate, retired teacher Sarah Cox, and to the systematic canvassing work undertaken in the ward.
'We successfully canvassed the whole ward at least once and many areas a second time – and we got two leaflets into every home,' said one activist.
'Sarah was a great candidate – she's very well rooted in the community, and spent the campaign visiting people in local schools and pensioners' clubs.'
Stonebridge is a solidly working class ward with an extremely diverse population, including white, African Caribbean, Somali and Asian communities. The result puts Respect in a strong position to win a seat on the London Assembly at the London elections in May next year.
|Zaffar Van Kalwala||Labour||1,432||51.9||ELECTED|
|Sandra Elina Wiltshire||Liberal Democrats||864||31.3|