Emma Edhem and Robert Hughes-Penney are the newest members of the City’s Court of Aldermen, after emerging victorious in Thursday’s Candlewick and Cheap aldermanic elections.
It was a tight race in Candlewick, with Ms Edhem edging out her nearest competitor James De Sausmarez by just seven votes to finish on a total of 50 and take the post vacated by Dame Fiona Woolfe.
Her election will be hailed as a win by diversity campaigners following criticism over the gender balance in the City’s Court of Aldermen and Court of Common Council.
Dame Fiona is one of three current serving female aldermen in a court of 25, while just under a quarter of the City’s common councillors are women.
Ms Edhem, who is a barrister at No5 chambers and a councillor for Castle Baynard, told City Matters before the election that that while she wanted voters to judge her on her expertise for the role rather than her gender, she would fight for greater diversity among the City’s elected representatives.
“I was greatly heartened when Dame Fiona Wolf by her gentle encouragement to stand. She still does and no doubt has tried to find more women with substance to stand.
“I will continue to look for women with substance and indeed other diversity groups, in and around the other seats.”
Massive thank you to all the marvellous people who rallied around and supported me during my campaign for Alderman in the Financial Mile! And thank you to the voters!! I am delighted to have been elected. I now look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting on with the job!
— Emma Edhem (@EdhemEmma) July 7, 2018
Meanwhile, Mr Hughes-Penney emerged the winner of a seven-horse race in the Cheap ward with 65 votes, ahead of Andrew Heath-Richardson (51 votes), Andrew Marsden (42 votes), Richard Hills (39 votes), Tim Haywood (33 votes), Tony Samuels (15 votes) and Tim Becker (2 votes).
It marks a return to Guildhall for the Rathbone’s investment director, who spent eight years as a common councillor for Farringdon Within between 2004 and 2012. He said he was “humbled and honoured” by the win.
I am humbled and delighted to have been elected as the new Alderman for the Ward of Cheap. Thank you to all those that made this possible and I look forward to serving the Ward and the City in the years ahead. pic.twitter.com/BJrphmmxTS
— Robert Hughes-Penney (@Robchp) July 5, 2018
And the City Corporation won’t be packing up the ballot boxes away just yet, with Aldgate ward voters due to head to the polls to elect their alderman on 12 July. A.J Gallagher’s non-executive director Sue Langley is challenging incumbent Peter Hewitt, who has served in the role for the last six years. Ms Edhem’s election will also mean a by-election in Castle Baynard in the coming weeks to elect a new common councillor.