Round Green and High Town ward by-elections to be held this May

Local by-elections will take place in May to fill two empty seats on Luton Borough Council.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 2:52 pm

Two Luton by-elections are set to be held in May, following the resignations of Labour councillors Rachel Hopkins and Mark Rivers.

Councillor Hopkins was always due to stand down at some stage, after being elected as Luton South MP at the 2019 general election.

Her High Town seat should have been contested last May, but the local elections were postponed because of the pandemic.

By-elections will take place for two seats on the council in May
By-elections will take place for two seats on the council in May

She was first elected in Barnfield ward in 2011 and was the executive member for public health.

Councillor Rivers has resigned after moving to Scotland, having worked in engineering for the BBC for 31 years.

He was successful in Round Green at the elections in May 2011, and was assistant portfolio holder for housing.

A member of the development control committee, he also chaired the licensing panel.

Mayor and Labour Leagrave councillor Maria Lovell told a full council meeting: "I would like to thank former councillors Hopkins and Rivers, on behalf of the local authority, for their service to the people of Luton."

Labour council leader and Lewsey councillor Hazel Simmons said: "I would like to thank the two councillors for ten years sterling service to residents of the town.

"Rachel Hopkins was also an executive member and did some great work around health and culture.

"Mark Rivers did a lot of work on our development control committee and licensing.

"I'm sure we'd all like to thank them for their work in the town and wish them well in their future endeavours."

Labour Farley councillor Mahmood Hussain said both had done "an excellent job" and thanked councillor Rivers for his contribution on the fostering panel.

"Everyone on the fostering panel will miss him," he said. "And I thank him for the fantastic work he's done for the panel over a number of years."

Labour Lewsey councillor Aslam Khan, who switched portfolios with councillor Hopkins, said: "Rachel was a really passionate and commendable councillor.

"She put heart and soul into some of the policy making, and also the implementation and delivery of some of those services.

"Mark was really passionate about education and safeguarding our young and wonderful people. He again was an exemplary councillor."

And Labour Round Green councillor Tahmina Saleem said: "On behalf of the Round Green residents I think Mark's done a wonderful job in supporting them."

May's elections will also include the appointment of a new Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, with current PCC Kathryn Holloway stepping down from the role.

She was due to leave 12 months ago, but was invited to stay on for another year as those elections also had to be put on hold because of Covid-19.