Seven Cambridge students ran in last year's council elections, with one winningAll images courtesy of candidates, with permission for Varsity

Campaigning has begun for next month’s council elections, in which six students are running for selection.

Half of the University’s student candidates are running for the Green Party, with two Labour Party candidates up for election, and one for the Conservatives.

14 of Cambridge City Council’s 42 seats will be contested, including three wards, Castle, Market, and Newnham, with a high student presence.

Labour maintained their strong presence in Cambridge during last year’s elections, despite losing 2 seats, leaving the party with 10 across the city. 4 Liberal Democrat and 2 Green candidates were elected.

The Cambridge congestion charge was a key issue during the 2023 local elections, which was dropped in October after a long-running debate. The policy was backed by the University, with pro-vice-chancellor Andy Neely saying of the decision: “It’s a shame the politics have got in the way.”

Last year’s local elections were the first in which voters were required to bring ID to the polls. The new policy was met with allegations that it favoured older generations, as bus passes and old-age Oyster cards were listed as acceptable forms of identification.

Following the elections, council figures reported that over 300 voters were turned away from polling stations. One student told Varsity that they had not expected their non-UK passport to be refused, while another said that transgender students would be avoiding the polls due to their deadnames being listed on their ID.

The policy remains in place for this year’s elections. Voters can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, which can be used as ID at the polls, until the 24th of April.

Three students are standing for the Green Party, which currently has four councillors in Cambridge, in this year’s elections: Joshua Morris-Blake, Esmé Hennessy, and Chloe Mosonyi. All three candidates have highlighted their environmental pledges, while Morris-Blake and Hennessy appeal directly to young people, running in student-heavy wards.

Szymon Sawicki, the sole Conservative student candidate, is running against Hennessy in Castle Ward, which is home to students from Churchill, Fitzwilliam, and Murray Edwards colleges.

Ben Cartwright and Sam Carling, who has been a Councillor since 2021, are campaigning as Labour Party candidates. Cartwright, a second-year Christ’s student, is running in Abbey Ward, while Carling, a PhD candidate at Christ’s, is standing in West Chesterton Ward.

Sam Carling - Labour Party - West Chesterton

“Having been a councillor for two years, I’ve seen the difference Labour is making in Cambridge – particularly through building more affordable housing, as we have delivered more new council homes than any other UK local authority bar Birmingham. I also want to build on our excellent climate action, following our reduction of the City Council’s carbon emissions by 10% in just the last year. I’m restanding to continue that work, and deliver more support for residents through the cost-of-living crisis.”

Ben Cartwright - Labour Party - Abbey

“As a student it’s easy to be bound by the privilege of attending this university without looking beyond our college walls. But for many people this is their home all year round, and local issues really matter to them. Engaging in the issues facing residents is a really grounding experience and is a major part of why I stood. We need to ensure that we make Cambridge a fairer, greener place, expanding community access to local provisions, creating safer streets, and seeking to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. These measures would be of benefit to us all.”

Esmé Hennessy - Green Party - Castle

“I want to join our growing group of Green councillors in finding concrete solutions to divesting Council funds, night time safety, and prioritising our environment and wellbeing. Student representation on the council is severely lacking - there is a disconnect between the council and young people, allowing the Labour dominated council to fall behind on too many issues affecting students in Cambridge. Local elections are often so close; this is our chance to elect a council which won’t fail on the key issues.”

Joshua Morris-Blake - Green Party - Cherry Hinton

“I’m running because Labour have failed on the basics: potholes, poverty and pitiful protection against river pollution. The Greens have momentum in Cambridge - since moving here in 2021, we’ve gained more seats than every other party - and that looks set to continue based on campaigning data. More Labour councillors won’t make a difference here. In the student-heavy seats, Greens are best placed to hold Labour accountable, protect our most vulnerable residents and push for investment in a fairer, greener city.”


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Chloe Mosonyi - Green Party - Trumpington

“I’m running because I believe the City Council should be doing more to address social and environmental problems in Cambridge. The housing crisis is a particularly thorny issue, with young people being especially vulnerable to predatory landlords and high housing costs. Greens have the policies to challenge Labour on unaffordable and unsustainable development in Cambridge while making sure local housing need is met and our environment protected. More Greens on City Council means more progressive, climate-conscious voices working for Cambridge.”

Szymon Sawicki - Conservative Party - Castle

“I am standing because young people, especially from working class backgrounds like me, are underrepresented at a local level in UK politics. The biggest change Cambridge needs is a massive reduction in the cost of living for locals and students, as it is currently one of the most expensive places to live in the UK. Across Cambridge City, the Conservative Party is standing to improve public transport, protect local democracy and build a green and affordable Cambridge.”