Patricia Napier: ‘I don’t like people being ripped off’
Published: 22 February, 2013
by PETER GRUNER
THE battle for Archway’s heart, Junction ward, intensified this week after Conservative candidate Patricia Napier entered the fray with the message: “I don’t like bullies.”
A student barrister, Ms Napier has won tens of thousands of pounds for the borough’s leaseholders over the past seven years, always working for free.
Married with two grown-up children, she lives in Holloway and argues that it is people not politics that will decide the by-election on March 21.
Ms Napier regularly fights Islington Council at tribunals on behalf of leaseholders who claim they are being overcharged for maintenance fees.
Her greatest claim to fame was winning a tribunal case against the council over repairs to homes at Tremlett Grove, Archway, last year. Leaseholders’ bills were reduced by more than half from £28,000 to £12,000 when she was able to prove that maintenance work on the estate was unnecessary.
Last month, she won a further victory when the council was forced to admit that a heavy-handed approach to leaseholders had been a “mistake”. In future, where bills are considered high officers would mediate in an effort to avoid costly tribunals, it pledged.
Ms Napier said: “I could charge for my services as a consultant but I don’t want to benefit financially from people’s misery. I don’t like people being ripped off by the council and I don’t like bullies.”
As for Junction ward issues, she supports the campaign to save Whittington Hospital even though it is being said that it is her coalition government’s policies that may have contributed to the current cash crisis there.
“I don’t have to agree with everything the government does,” she added. “Difficult and uncomfortable decisions have to be made. And I’m sure it wouldn’t be any different if Labour were in charge.
“It’s all about local issues. I know I will have to fight against the Labour machine, which simply encourages people to vote blindly. But I hope voters will decide the candidate not by party politics but by the person.”
She is also concerned about problems faced by small shops and businesses which, despite the recession, are facing crippling rents and rates. “They pay huge rates but don’t even get free rubbish bags,” she said.
Ms Napier is a former Labour supporter who in 1996 drove Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper on the campaign trail in north London in the days before they became MPs.
“I believe Tony Blair dismantled the old Labour Party that I joined,” she said.
“People who vote Labour these days are deceived. It’s New Labour, it’s a different thing. I decided to join the Conservative party in 2001.”