On the campaign trail with Catherine West
PUBLISHED: 23:18 07 May 2015 | UPDATED: 13:00 08 May 2015
Hannah Al-Othman joined the Labour Party’s candidate on the streets of Muswell Hill this evening
With just three and a half hours left until polls close, Catherine West is pounding the streets – in a trouser suit and gold Converse trainers.
She’s fought a long, hard campaign to try to take the seat from Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone, who is defending a majority of 6,875.
And she’s had a veritable army behind her, with volunteers drafted in from Camden, Islington, Hackney, and beyond.
Today, she says, there have been 1,000 Labour supporters out knocking on doors – 100 in each of the seat’s ten council wards.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the level of support from the Labour movement across north London”, she says.
“People have been coming to help out knowing we will be bringing something new.
“We’ve been feeling that groundswell of support, it’s been great.”
Both West and Featherstone have been fighting hard for the seat, which has been one of the most closely-watched contests of the election.
Teams from both parties were out in force all day today, knocking on doors, and encouraging their supporters to turn out.
And with queues throughout the day at many polling stations across Hornsey and Wood Green, turnout is predicted to be at a record high,
“It’s been a very good day”, Catherine says. “A lot of people have been saying they’re going to vote Labour this time who voted Lib Dem last time.
“They want to choose a progressive alternative, a lot of people feel let down by the Lib Dems, who promised to be a much more progressive choice back in 2010, but they’ve proved to be the same as the Tories.”
Catherine and her team walk past a house on Kings Avenue where the window is plastered with Labour posters.
“I didn’t plan this,” Catherine says as she knocks on the door to find out who lives there.
The door is answered by 40-year-old Sara Hamilton, wearing a red shirt, and red lipstick.
She tells us she is a consultant paediatrician at the Whittington Hospital, and is holding an election party.
Her house is filled with Labour-branded balloons, and she says they will be eating red soup later.
“I’m voting for you”, she tells Catherine. “Because I’m voting for the party that isn’t going to put one million more children into poverty.”
Voters in Hornsey and Wood Green have been very keen to talk about policy, Catherine says, with several issues coming up time and time again.
“Saving the NHS, the bedroom tax, housing, how this government has treated people with disabilities,” she says.
“Young people felt particularly angry with the Lib Dems about tuition fees. Labour will give a cut in tuition fees and will increase student maintainance.
“The important thing is, most people want to see the fairer alternative that Labour offers.”
As her team walks along Queens Avenue people beep their car horns and wave, and an ice cream van plays a jingle in support.
The mood among the Labour camp is positive.
With a national anti-Liberal Democrat swing, and the full weight of the Labour machine behind West, she is predicted to take this seat.
But with such a large majority to overturn, it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
Now, as ballots are pouring in from across the constituency, for Catherine West all that is left to do is a lot of hoping, and wishing, and waiting.
Lynne Featherstone declined the opportunity to be followed on the campaign trail.