Imogen Thomas: Oxford City Council Candidate Profile

Hi! I’m Imogen, the Labour City Council candidate for Holywell ward. I’ve studied, lived and worked in Oxford for several years and I’ve been a Labour activist throughout. I graduated from my Master’s at Somerville College last year and now I work for the University at the Weston Library.

I’ve been organising in local politics for several years now; I’ve run door-knocking sessions, campaigned for tenants’ rights and taken on casework, as well as taking a lead on media and communications. I’ve chaired meetings, given talks and led discussions on various topics: I’ve spoken on the history of women’s activism (to mark International Women’s Day); on capitalism and the environment; and on LGBT+ history.

During the pandemic, I’ve helped out with the Kitchen Collective and the brilliant work that Oxford Mutual Aid has been doing to prevent families going without essential supplies in these difficult times. I’ve also volunteered in green spaces around Oxford, litter-picking, watering saplings and reporting discarded needles. Lockdown has shown just how vital access to safe and welcoming outside spaces are for our physical and mental health.

I have also been active with community union ACORN, reaching out to people in rent arrears during the pandemic and joining the Housing is Health and No COVID Evictions campaigns. As a spokesperson for ACORN Oxford, I made several media appearances to draw attention to government inaction and the lack of legislation to protect tenants during the pandemic. Here’s a link to my interview on BBC South Today.

I more recently appeared on South Today to show support for the Council’s proposed landlord licensing scheme, one of the biggest powers local government has to tackle unsafe housing conditions and to prevent evictions. The scheme would secure vital protections for thousands of renters across Oxford who are living with unsafe hazards or negligent landlords.

In May, we’ll have the chance to elect passionate and capable Labour campaigners to City Council. We’ll have the chance to ensure that our vital public services are protected, that tackling the climate crisis is prioritised by local government, and that we continue to push for safe, affordable and dignified housing.

Holywell is a marginal ward and every vote will count to ensure a Labour victory: in 2018, Labour scraped a victory by only 7 votes! This means we can’t afford not to campaign hard; I’ll be tireless in my commitment to fighting for students and local residents, but your support is vital too. Rally your friends to turn out to vote and, if you can, volunteer some time to help with the campaign. (Please do contact me on Facebook if you’d like to get involved!)

I am well aware that, if elected, myself and other Councillors would be confronting challenges the like of which the Council has never seen before. With yet further cuts imposed by the Conservatives on the horizon, there will be a huge weight of responsibility on our shoulders: to make the right choices, to advocate for the vulnerable, and to ensure that Oxford’s social and economic recovery from the pandemic is as smooth as possible.

I’m delighted to be standing alongside union activist Edward Mundy, the other City Council candidate for Holywell. We make a great team and have the drive and commitment to face these challenges head-on.

The quickest and easiest way to support us right now is to register for a postal vote, and to get your friends to do the same! 

Holywell needs Labour Councillors who will advocate strongly for its residents, and who will represent their views on homelessness, zero emission zones, air pollution, liveable streets, mental health, and other local issues big and small. Let’s win in May.

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