Council elections: who are St Albans Labour candidates?

Janet Smith campaigning for Labour in Sopwell ward.

Janet Smith campaigning for Labour in Sopwell ward. - Credit: St Albans Labour Party

We meet the candidates from Labour standing for election at county and district level on May 6.

District council candidates

Dreda Gordon - London Colney

Dreda Gordon

Dreda Gordon - Credit: Dreda Gordon

Dreda is a retired schoolteacher who grew up and was educated in St Albans. She is passionate about animal welfare issues and is a member of PETA and Greenpeace.
Dreda has been involved in local civic life for 30 years as a district and parish councillor and more recently as the county councillor for the London Colney division which includes Highfield and Tyttenhanger.
As the Labour county and district candidate for London Colney Dreda promises to: Protect green spaces and promote more tree planting and ‘wild areas’~- Support more action and penalties against fly tippers
- Campaign for improved leisure provision for all residents
- Support residents who want 20mph zones in their neighbourhoods
- Implement more improvements to protect footpaths and verges

Ed Bailey – St Peter’s

Ed Bailey

Ed Bailey - Credit: Ed Bailey

"I’ve lived in St Albans all my life. I love this city but the Covid crisis has highlighted the inequalities in our community as never before.
"Growing up here, we never saw people sleeping on the street or boarded-up shop windows: this is the awful impact of Tory austerity cuts.
"I work in education and my partner is a local teacher, so I’ve seen how brilliantly our local schools have coped through the pandemic. Key workers deserve a medal for what they’ve had to deal with but more importantly, they deserve a decent pay rise.
"The last year has made us refocus on what’s important which is why I’m standing for the first time in this election. I want to help improve our area and cherish what has got us through the crisis: local schools and NHS services, community spirit, and of course our beautiful green spaces and river."

George Sanderson – Clarence

George Sanderson

George Sanderson - Credit: George Sanderson

"I've lived in St Albans all my life, I run a small business here as well as working in public affairs and communications in London. I've worked on issues from renewable energy to council tax. I'll use my experience in policy to support local businesses - keeping them up to date with changes that will affect them. I'll champion St Albans' green transition based on my work in the renewable sector. And having directed youth programmes, I'll champion opportunities for young people."

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Iain Grant – Marshalswick South

Iain Grant

Iain Grant - Credit: Photography by Splaat Media

"I have lived in St Albans for over 30 years, and as an ex-teacher am very committed to ensuring our children get the best start in life. That’s why I am passionate about our schools (I help to run Treasure Chest, a savings club, in my local primary school), and about pushing our Council to deliver local toddler play areas and improve what our district has to offer our older children.
"During my previous term as a councillor, I was an active member of the Planning Policy Committee – regrettably, both Tory and Lib Dem administrations have presided over failed local plans that leave our district exposed to predatory development. I believe our district – and you – deserve better, with a local plan for the homes we need, in the places we want and with the roads, schools, facilities and infrastructure to build real communities."

John Paton – Cunningham

John Paton

John Paton - Credit: John Paton

"After 28 years as a local resident and having been a governor of two excellent local schools (Camp and Samuel Ryder), I have seen greater inequalities in our community than ever before. We are now all too familiar with the sight of people sleeping on the street, and boarded up shop windows. There is a completely inadequate amount of affordable new housing locally, and St Albans council should insist on a much larger percentage of affordable housing being included by local developers.
"Both Tory and Lib Dem administrations have presided over failed local plans that leave our district exposed to predatory development. I believe our district – and you – deserve better, with a local plan for the homes we need, in the places we want and with the roads, schools, facilities and infrastructure to build real communities."

Jon Pearce - Ashley

Jon Pearce

Jon Pearce - Credit: Jon Pearce

"I live in St Albans with my young family. St Albans is a great place to live. But to stay a great place for our families to live in, we need a council with a plan to address the big issues we will all face over the coming years. A plan to deliver secure jobs in a post pandemic economy, revitalise our urban centres, which have been allowed to dilapidate, and play our part in tackling climate change. For Labour’s commitments for Ashley ward, please see the “Six Pledges” at"

Mal Pakenham – Batchwood

Mal Pakenham

Mal Pakenham - Credit: Mal Pakenham

Mal Pakenham has been a Batchwood ward councillor for the last nine years, sits on the Planning and Licensing Committees, the Covid Recovery Task/Finish Group and City Neighbourhood Committee. Mal is currently the Leader of the Labour Group on the council. Mal supported the building of extra social housing units within Batchwood on several old garage sites and continues to press for more units to be built so that local people can stay within the community and was instrumental in persuading the Council to build more social housing units in the City Centre that are currently under construction. He supported the 20 is plenty several years ago and had a motion passed at council on the plight of the Ver, Mal supported the formation of the minority Lib Dem Administration and has worked cross party with them and the Greens on Climate Emergency issues and will continue to do so for the benefit of Batchwood residents.

Nick Pullinger – Marshalswick North

Nick Pullinger

Nick Pullinger - Credit: Nick Pullinger

"Hi, my name’s Nick and I’m standing as your Labour candidate in Marshalswick North. I grew up in Redbourn, went to school in Harpenden and now live in Jersey Farm. I work as an accountant and I enjoy running in my spare time. If elected I would aim to be a real champion for all my constituents. Council services have come under huge pressure from the pandemic and following a decade of Tory and Lib Dem austerity - we urgently need a strong Labour presence at all levels of government to ensure communities get what they desperately need."

Janet Smith – Sopwell

Janet Smith

Janet Smith - Credit: Janet Smith

"Born in Oldham, I moved to St Albans at the age of 16, doing my A-levels at the Girls School. Following this I trained as a teacher. I became a district councillor for Sopwell ward in 2003 and served until 2008. I returned in 2012 and have been a Sopwell ward councillor ever since. A dedicated ward councillor, I always put the needs of residents first. I have served on a variety of committees and working groups, as I believe it is important to have an overview of how the council operates. I have also represented the district council on several charitable bodies, most recently St Albans Citizens Advice.
"I believe in encouraging young people to save, and have been running the St Albans Community Bank (formerly Credit Union) children’s bank, known as Treasure Chest, at Mandeville School since 2005. I also volunteer to listen to children reading, as a contribution to giving children the best start in life."

Martin McGrath – Park Street

Martin McGrath

Martin McGrath - Credit: Martin McGrath

"Having lived in Park Street for 18 years, I know we already have to deal with congested roads and the pollution that goes along with them. The proposed railfreight development would take traffic to intolerable levels and do more damage to the environment and local people’s health. Whatever economic case there was for this development a decade ago has been wiped out by Brexit and the changes to the way Britain trades. I would urge the council to continue to fight for alternative, less intrusive and more appropriate uses of this land.
"Park Street also suffers from significant levels of “hidden poverty” – a local foodbank was opened during the pandemic and I know many of my neighbours have been hit hard by the economic consequences of lockdown. I do not believe the district council does enough for us and, if elected, I would be a strong voice for our community."

Janet Blackwell – St Stephen / St Stephens

Janet Blackwell

Janet Blackwell - Credit: Splaat Media Ltd

Janet Blackwell is the Labour candidate for the St Stephen district council seat and the St Stephens Division county council seat. For Labour’s pledges for St Stephens in the district and county council campaigns, please visit

Emily Tilly Pritty - Harpenden North

Emily Tilly

Emily Tilly - Credit: Emily Tilly

"I am an employment lawyer who has advised many families throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
My four children attend local schools. The community response to this crisis has demonstrated that
we are altruistic, communitarian, kind and resilient. Community and society are core Labour values
and would be at the heart of our work, if elected, to improve lives for all residents."

Eleanor Clarke - Harpenden East

Eleanor Clarke

Eleanor Clarke - Credit: Eleanor Clarke

"I am a trade union representative for the National Education Union. We have seen how teachers
have stepped up over the crisis and fought to deliver first-class education for our children, in
exceptionally challenging circumstances. If elected, I will bring a similar commitment in fighting to
get the best deal for residents and pushing your concerns on the district council."

James Gill - Harpenden East

James Gill

James Gill - Credit: Splaat Media Ltd

"I am a trade union representative for Unison. That experience has given me a real insight into the
impact of the Covid crisis on working people and families. If elected, I will be similarly tenacious in
fighting to get the best deal for the residents of Harpenden East."

Linda Spiri - Harpenden South
"I was born and brought up in Hertfordshire, and have lived in Harpenden for over 30 years. I have
three children, educated in local state schools. I had to retire three years ago to take care of a family
member because of the lack of adult social care. This issue affects all families at some time and
needs urgent reform."

David Crew – Harpenden South

David Crew

David Crew - Credit: David Crew

David Crew is the Labour candidate for the Harpenden South seat. For Labour’s commitments for
Harpenden South, please see the “Six Pledges” at

Becci Madole - Harpenden West

Rebecca Madole

Rebecca Madole - Credit: Rebecca Madole

"My family have lived in the area for three generations. I worked in financial services, before retraining as a forest school leader. In my free time, I volunteer with local organisations. I am passionate about helping children engage with nature - they are healthier as a result, and it broadens their learning. Most importantly, it helps ensure they are its future ambassadors, so if elected I will be a strong champion for the district’s green spaces. I am also very committed to equality issues – and as a single mother of a feisty young daughter, I will actively seek opportunities to support and champion the rights of women in our communities."

Jon Hegarty - Wheathampstead

Jon Hegerty

Jon Hegerty - Credit: Jon Hegerty

"I am a trade union official and have lived in St Albans for over 30 years. I now live with my family in
Jersey Farm. I am committed to putting the interests of the people first. Locally and nationally,
Labour will invest in people, public services and the industries of the future."

Symon Vegro - Redbourn

Symon Vegro

Symon Vegro - Credit: Symon Vegro

"I have lived in Redbourn for nearly 18 years, so I know the village well. I have been a parish
councillor since 2019, and am involved with Active in Redbourn’s mission to make our village the
happiest and healthiest in the UK. I am part of the volunteering work for the Care Group, and I run a local Parkinson’s Support Group. I also have a compere role on the ‘Newsbites’ broadcast each week. I am a self-employed writer, with five published books and more underway."

Laurence Chester - Verulam

Laurence Chester

Laurence Chester - Credit: Laurence Chester

Covid has been a real challenge, but in responding to it we can also see opportunities for making things better in Verulam ward. It’s high time that the longstanding coach traffic problems on Fishpool Street were addressed, for instance. And with more people sharing concerns about climate change and the environment, we can also do more to protect the Ver, as a valued and nationally rare chalk stream habitat. The district council can also do more to build back our high street, by working with rather than over the heads of market traders, and by supporting our local shops and publicans.

County council candidates

David Allan – St Albans Central

David Allan

David Allan - Credit: David Allan

"The issues for central St Albans right now are all to do with the impact of coronavirus. It’s the economic heart of our city, and our high street has been ravaged by the effects of long-term lockdown. We can argue over whether the lockdowns were timely, but what’s important now is how we build back. We need both a district and a county council that will back our traders, our market stallholders, our publicans – and build with them, not against them. Local residents are all too aware of the repeated pressures on school places in the city centre too – we need people with the vision to find long-term solutions, not short-term fixes, as our county representatives."

Jeremy Newmark – St Albans North

Jeremy Newmark

Jeremy Newmark - Credit: Jeremy Newmark

"I’ve lived in Hertfordshire all my life. Local NHS services helped me through serious illness. I work with a local business providing transport for vulnerable people. Our County Council must drive local economic recovery. The Tories are more interested in awarding crony contracts to their mates. The Lib Dems continually fail to deliver. NHS and social care provision are crumbling.
"Public transport has lost its public ethos. Bus franchises must be renegotiated to benefit local people. Senior citizens and students deserve a Freedom Pass like the one available in London. We need investment in our schools to provide world class education.
"Potholes, failed streetlights and flooding are caused by poor highways arrangements. It’s time to maintain and expand Hertfordshire’s cycle network, so that cycling is a benefit not a danger. St Albans deserves a fairer deal. As your county councillor I’ll be a campaigning councillor. I’ll be on your side."

Iain Grant – Colney Heath and Marshalswick - see above
James Gill – Harpenden North East - see above
Dreda Gordon - London Colney - see above

Janet Blackwell – St Stephen / St Stephens - see above
Janet Smith– St Albans South - see above
John Paton – St Albans East - see above
Linda Spiri - Harpenden South - see above
Symon Vegro - Redbourn - see above