Safety chief loses her seat but warns ‘just wait for my daughter’

Sue Lukes put defeat down to ‘anti-Labour’ feeling in her Highbury ward

Friday, 13th May — By Anna Lamche

Labour Sue Lukes & daughter Linda Burgos-Lukes

Sue Lukes lost her seat and her daughter Minda also lost out to the Greens

LABOUR’S mammoth election in Islington had one moment of “heartbreak” for the party when a cabinet councillor lost her seat to the Greens.

Sue Lukes – the Town Hall’s safety chief – put her defeat down to “anti-Labour” feeling in her Highbury ward, rather than “pro-Green” sentiment.

Speaking from Zagreb in Croatia, where she is currently advising the city council on migration and local services, she said: “If you looked at what the Greens were saying, they were essentially saying: ‘We’re not Labour’.”

She said she was “not massively” surprised by the end results.

“They were out canvassing a lot, and we knew that a lot of people were going to be voting against Labour [in the ward],” said Ms Lukes.

“They didn’t produce a manifesto, they didn’t publicise their policies particularly – they simply said ‘it’s a bad thing to have a 100 per cent Labour council’.”

She said tactical voting had played a role in her party’s loss in Highbury.

“Obviously, if you’re a Conservative, you’d think: there’s no point in voting Conservative. If you’re a Liberal, you’d probably think there’s not much point in voting Liberal in that ward. You vote for the other party,” she said. “I think once that coalesces around a particular set of candidates, then it’s quite hard to push back against.”

Her daughter Minda Burgos-Lukes was also looking to get elected for Labour in the same ward but missed out too.

Her mother said that she would be one to watch out for the in the future.

“I think she’ll be absolutely brilliant – she’s got so much to offer,” said Ms Lukes.

She added that she was “most proud” of how the council “looked after the most vulnerable” throughout the Covid lockdowns, and retained the trust of residents “at a time when, frankly, you would have been mad to trust the central government”.

She was also pleased with her work on the borough’s violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy, which she said saw the focus shift to tackling “the climate of misogyny and impunity that surrounds the way women are treated in public, in schools, colleges and workplaces.”

While she has predicted her daughter will be back for another go, Ms Lukes said she would not stand again in 2026.

“It’s time to stand back a bit and let others come forward,” she said.

A specialist on migration and equalities, Ms Lukes has already returned to work – hence her Zagreb trip.

“I’m in a very lucky position. I had a choice of two things to do that I absolutely love,” she said.

Meanwhile, leader of the council Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz said she was “exceptionally grateful” to Ms Lukes for her work, paying tribute to her as “wonderful ward councillor and all the casework she’s done, and how she’s shaped her ward.”

She added: “I think we were all quite heartbroken as a result of losing such great colleagues and candidates.”

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