Archive | June, 2016

Backstabbers

30 Jun

 

Over 500 Labour councillors have signed a letter urging Jeremy Corbyn to resign. The list includes 11 from Newham

  • Cllr Conor McAuley
  • Cllr David Christie
  • Cllr Farah Nazeer
  • Cllr Ian Corbett
  • Cllr James Beckles
  • Cllr Masihullah Patel
  • Cllr Quintin Peppiatt
  • Cllr Salim Patel
  • Cllr Tahmina Rahman
  • Cllr Terry Paul
  • Cllr Zuber Gulamussen

Update (4/7/2016):

A rival open letter supporting Corbyn has been published and four Newham councillors have signed it:

  • Cllr Susan Masters
  • Cllr John Gray
  • Cllr John Whitworth
  • Cllr Obaid Khan
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Withdrawal symptoms

29 Jun

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The Liberal Democrat candidate for the upcoming Forest Gate North by-election has withdrawn. The party has released a statement:

We regret that Lib Dem campaigner James Rumsby has has to stand down for personal reasons and we thank him for having put himself forward to serve our community.

We are pleased that so many local residents backed the Remain cause in the recent EU referendum, and that we are welcoming new members every week.

Newham residents deserve a positive alternative to the chaos offered by the two main parties. If you agree, join us in the Lib Dems.

Mr Rumsby’s withdrawal leaves a three-way fight between Labour, the Conservatives and the Green party.

Conservative candidate selected

20 Jun

West Ham Conservatives have selected John Oxley as their candidate for the Forest Gate North by-election.

They have issued the following statement on their website:

John has lived in Newham for four years. He is a barrister working in family law and has worked with a number of legal charities. If elected, he will work hard to address the problems caused by the council’s neglect of Forest Gate, including the poor state of the roads and fly-tipping. As the only opposition voice on Newham council, he will hold the Mayor and council to account on behalf of the whole borough.

John says “The current council are complacent, and are failing to address the day to day issues in Forest Gate. I will tackle fly-tipping, work to improve the roads and boost facilities for cyclists. A one-party council is bad for the whole borough. As a Conservative opposition, I will fight for better, more cost-effective services and an end to council waste.”

According to his biography on his law firm’s website:

Outside of work, John maintains an interest in the cultural history of Victorian England and the history of dress. He enjoys watching Yorkshire play cricket and endures supporting Sheffield Wednesday FC.

Your by-election candidates

17 Jun

Nominations have closed and the following candidates have been officially announced:

  • Anamul Islam – Labour Party
  • John Oxley – Conservative Party
  • James Rumsby – Liberal Democrats
  • Elisabeth Whitebread – Green Party

The election will be held on Thursday 14th July 2016.

Green candidate selected

16 Jun

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Members of Newham Green Party have selected Elisabeth Whitebread as their candidate for the Forest Gate North by-election.

She has issued the following statement:

Hi, I’m Elisabeth, and I’m the Green Party candidate for Forest Gate North. I live on Sebert Road under the Goblin line, having decided to move here when I fell in love with Wanstead Flats four years ago. Forest Gate has been my home for a relatively short time, and yet I feel more a part of the community here than I have anywhere else since I moved out of my parents’ house. I guess it’s that kind of place.

In my professional life I’m an environmental campaigner (in the above photo I’m handing in a petition against plastic microbeads to Number 10!). I’ve led successful campaigns to create marine reserves in far flung corners of the world, getting to know island communities and working with them to protect their incredible underwater life. I also helped to achieve a reversal of government proposals to water down the National Curriculum’s requirement to teach children about nature. 

My degree in psychology and my experience in environmental campaigning have given me the skills to understand how to tackle issues like flytipping, one of the most pervasive problems that this area faces. The recent decision to introduce a £20 charge to collect bulky items seems to me to be a big step in the wrong direction, and shows a real misunderstanding of local people’s circumstances. 

You might have met me when I worked at Coffee7 a couple of years ago. While talking to other people who live here, I’ve heard that many are deeply dissatisfied with the current council and Mayor. No matter what your political allegiance, it’s surely bad for democracy to have only one Party represented on our council, with no opposition to scrutinise their decisions.

In the last local elections here in 2014, the Green Party came second in Forest Gate North. If you want to send a strong message to the council, increase the democracy and accountability of the council, and elect a candidate who will listen to residents and fight hard for their concerns, then please consider voting Green on 14th July.

Hobson’s choice?

13 Jun

Local Labour party members will get to select their candidate for the upcoming Forest Gate North by-election at a special meeting on Thursday. Or at least that’s the theory.

An email all members from Patrick Murphy, chair of Newham Labour’s local campaign forum sets out the timetable:

If you wish to be considered as a candidate for this Election, you are advised of the following timetable:

Applications invited.        10th June.
Close of Applications.     14th June.
Interview Panel.              15th June.
FGN meets to Shortlist   16th June.
Selection of Candidate.  16th June.

Please note that you must have been a Labour Party member for 1 year (cut off date June 10th 2015). 

This has taken some members by surprise. At the last ward meeting Ellie Robinson, whose resignation has triggered the by-election, told them there was no need to discuss the selection process there and then as there was no rush to hold the by-election. And members got an email from Rachel Tripp and Seyi Akiwowo inviting anyone who was interested in standing, or had any questions about what it was like to be a councillor, to get in touch. They said they’d organise a meeting if enough people were interested.

That has obviously now gone by the board. The speed with which the by-election has been called, and the consequent urgency to select a candidate, has left some fearing a stitch-up by the leadership.

But that was always likely anyway, no matter how many local members expressed an interest or however long they took to talk about the process. The local campaign forum – which is a tool of the leadership – will interview all applicants and decide the shortlist of potential candidates to go forward to the branch for selection. Local members will have their choice, but only from options approved by Sir Robin’s lieutenants.

Councillor John Gray, writing on his blog, has tried to reassure members:

I am Vice Chair of the Branch and gave a commitment to members at our last meeting that the branch would do every thing possible to make sure that the selection process is fair, democratic and inclusive. 

Brave words. But in truth there is little that can be done, especially given that nomination papers have to with the council by 4 p.m. on Friday 17th. Any attempt to appeal the process to Labour head office would risk the party having no candidate. That’s simply not going to happen.

In talking to local members about who might put themselves forward four names have come up: 

  • Dr. Martin Edobor, a junior hospital doctor and national chair of the Young Fabians
  • Wendy Mitchell, a former Hackney councillor now living in Forest Gate.
  • Anamul Islam, a trade union activist in the PCS
  • Amanjit Jhund, “Doctor, Entrepreneur and Labour Party Activist”, according to his Twitter bio. Stood in Scotland in the 2015 general election and, er, didn’t win. Also ‘Mr. Ellie Robinson’ (which, sadly, is likely to count against him with Sir Robin at the moment)

Of course there may be other contenders too.

We will have to wait until Friday to find out who get’s the nod. And whoever that is will be odds-on to be our new councillor.


Correction: In the original version of this post I mis-spelled Anamul Islam’s name as Anum Ismal. My apologies to him.

Forest Gate North by-election

10 Jun

The by-election to fill the vacancy left by Ellie Robinson’s resignation will be on Thursday, 14th July 2016.

Nominations are open now and close at 4 p.m. next Friday (June 17th).

More information is in the official notice of election.