All change in London?

While all attention is on the general election, three London Boroughs are very likely to get new leaders shortly after it – because the current leader is standing for a safe Labour seat.

The effect of the general election will be even greater. All told, over 40 London Labour councillors are Parliamentary candidates, and while many are standing in seats currently held comfortably by other parties, attempts to estimate the result of the election have shown that many of them may fall.

Camden is one of the most affected boroughs. Georgia Gould, leader since 2017 and a well known figure as daughter of ‘new Labour’ guru Philip Gould and publisher Gail Rebuck, was chosen at the last minute for the new seat of Queen’s Park and Maida Vale (replacing Karen Buck who is retiring, and reportedly scuppering the ambitions of Westminster’s Labour leader Adam Hug).

Her cabinet member for new homes, Danny Beales, will be having a second tilt at trying to win Uxbridge and South Ruislip – hoping the ULEZ issue will have gone away since the byelection last year. Camden may also lose the Chief Whip Lloyd Hatton (a planning committee member), who is standing in South Dorset – no. 214 on Labour’s target list, but still potentially winnable.

Potential new leaders in Camden have already begun shadow campaigns. Adam Harrison, cabinet member for a sustainable Camden, and finance chief Richard Olszewski, are reportedly interested.

Redbridge council leader Jas Athwal would have been selected for Ilford South at the last election but for a complaint against him which seemed suspicious to his supporters; when the selection rolled round, he defeated the Corbynite Sam Tarry and now looks likely to move to a Parliamentary career. Kam Rai, deputy leader, must be one of the favourites to succeed him as council leader. Two Redbridge backbenchers, Bayo Alaba and Sunny Brar, are also standing for Parliament.

Until this week it was looking like Barking and Dagenham’s leader Darren Rodwell would be moving to be MP for Barking, but bullying accusations led to an investigation and he has stepped down as a candidate. His replacement is Enfield’s leader Nesil Caliskan, a major figure in Labour local government (she represents councillors on Labour’s ruling NEC). A successor from her support base is likely, possibly Ergin Erbil. Enfield’s Cabinet member for Finance Tim Leaver is standing in North West Norfolk which looks beyond Labour’s reach.

Brent’s cabinet member for regeneration, planning and growth, Shama Tatler, was also picked at the last minute in Chingford and Woodford Green – a top Labour target. Newham’s Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for environment and sustainable transport, James Asser, has already left his posts to stand in ultra-safe West Ham and Beckton.

Ealing’s leader Peter Mason was mentioned as a possible replacement for Darren Rodwell but did not get the nod; however deputy Leader Deirdre Costigan is likely to be the new MP for Southall. Backbencher Callum Anderson has a good chance of winning Buckingham and Bletchley, but Ealing councillors Claire Tighe and Yoel Gordon are unlikely to win their seats in Surrey.

Ben Coleman, deputy leader of Hammersmith and Fulham, is standing for the Chelsea and Fulham seat. Tim Roca, who stood down as deputy leader of Westminster, is a candidate for Macclesfield which is a Labour target seat; standing in the next door seat of Tatton is Westminster’s cabinet member for climate action, Ryan Jude, although winning that seat may be more difficult. A backbench Westminster councillor, Jessica Toale, is candidate in winnable Bournemouth West.

Two Merton councillors standing in winnable seats have resigned their council seats already, including former cabinet member for local environment Natasha Irons who is trying to win Croydon East. Merton’s deputy leader Eleanor Stringer has wisely not given up her seat while standing to be MP for Wimbledon – a seat where the Liberal Democrats are tipped to win.

A few London councillors are standing for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, but none are from prominent leadership positions. Paul Kohler, the Liberal Democrat candidate in Wimbledon, is a Merton councillor but not group leader. Bobby Dean (Carshalton and Wallington) and Luke Taylor (Sutton and Cheam) both sit on Sutton council but are not in leadership positions.

If any of these potential movements may put the success of your scheme in doubt, please get in touch – I’m sure we can help.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *