Archive | January, 2018

Alight here for Forest Gate

16 Jan

Screenshot 2018 01 16 16 54 07

According to the latest newsletter from the Barking-Gospel Oak Rail User Group (BGORUG), there will soon be an additional to the signage at Wanstead Park station:

At a meeting with TfL last September BGORUG secured agreement for the platform signs giving the station’s name at Wanstead Park to receive straplines reading ‘Alight here for Forest Gate’. This follows on from a similar success in 2015 when TfL agreed to add ‘Alight here for Walthamstow Town Centre’ to the name boards at Walthamstow Queen’s Road. This station is not even very close to the road it is named after!

BGORUG consulted with the Forest Gate North councillors, meeting with Cllr. Rachel Tripp, who was very supportive of the idea.

It is true that the names of many stations on the Barking – Gospel Oak line do not really reflect their true location. Wanstead Park station is closer to Wanstead Flats than the park it is named after and only a matter of a few minutes walk from Forest Gate station.

The new signs will deliver a message that is consistent with the current version of the Tube map, which shows Wanstead Park and Forest Gate as an official interchange.

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Open it up

15 Jan

The chair of West Ham CLP, Cllr Charlene McLean, has written to Labour’s general secretary asking that they skip the re-run trigger ballot and move straight to an open selection:

As Chair of West Ham CLP and on behalf of its Officers, I am writing with regards to the statement issued by Sir Robin Wales on the 21st December 2017  accepting that the original trigger ballot process for the Newham Mayoral candidacy held between October and December 2016 should be re-run, following widespread criticism and continuing concern amongst Labour Party members in Newham members affiliates about the democratic and accountability issues arising from this process.

You will be aware that in January 2017 West Ham CLP passed a motion of no confidence in the trigger ballot process and this was re-affirmed at the General Committee meeting on the 23rd November 2017.

In addition to concerns raised by the CLP, a number of members and affiliates have lodged multiple complaints about the way the Newham Mayoral trigger ballot was run. Since the outcome of the trigger ballot in February 2017, there has been no constructive engagement with West Ham CLP on these issues raised. 

We are now less than four months from the date of the local elections and are concerned that there is no longer sufficient time in which to re-run the trigger ballot and then potentially hold an open selection process, if that is what the trigger ballot determines. We would note that it is the Labour Party’s delay in addressing our concerns which has created this urgency.

We therefore do not feel that a re-run of the trigger ballot is the practical response at this time and request that the Labour Party immediately hold an open selection for the mayoral candidate.

Furthermore, we have additional concerns about the continuing delay with Newham Local Government candidate selections and would like clarity around when the intended timetable for that will re-commence.

The call has been backed on social media by other councillors, including Julianne Marriott:

I’ve just emailed #Labour NEC asking that #Newham goes straight to an open selection. I don’t believe a re-run of a trigger ballot is in best interests of Newham residents.

Regardless of Labour’s internal politics there is a practical reason for going straight to open selection: with the election being held on 3rd May, the deadline for nominations is 4 pm on 6th April.

In 2016 the original trigger ballot process took about 6 weeks, from late October to the declaration of the result in early December. Even if Labour started the re-run by the end of January (and there’s no sign of that happening) it would be mid-March before the outcome was known. Getting an open selection done in three weeks would then be a challenge.

The answer is clear. Sir Robin has been mayor for 16 years. He has a record to run on. Neither he nor the Labour party should be afraid of an open selection.

Do over

4 Jan

The acting regional director of the London Labour Party has emailed Newham members:

As you may be aware, an affirmative ballot to determine the re-selection of the sitting directly-elected Mayor Newham was held in December 2016. This ballot, which was administered by the Local Campaign Forum (LCF), confirmed that Sir Robin Wales was selected as Labour’s candidate to fight the Mayoral election in May 2018.

Following the completion of this process, the party received complaints from a group of members with concerns over the eligibility status of some affiliated organisations who took part in the process. The complainants made it clear to the party that they intended to seek legal judgement on these matters in the courts.

The Labour Party maintains that all rules and procedures were applied correctly and that officers of the LCF acted in good faith with the information they were provided with.

However, a court case to determine that matter would be costly to the party and be a massive distraction away from campaigning to elect a Labour Mayor for Newham. Therefore, we have agreed to re-run the affirmative nomination process for Newham to determine if Sir Robin Wales is re-selected as Labour’s candidate for the election. The process will be administered by the Greater London Labour Party.

The ballot will be run with the same freeze date as the original process, 25th October 2016. This means that only members with six months membership at this point will be eligible to take part in any branch meetings where the affirmative vote will take place. If you are an eligible member then the party will be in touch with you to give you notice of this meeting.

We aim to complete this process as soon as possible to ensure everyone in the party can come together to play their part in delivering a successful campaign in Newham.

The local campaign forum is not being trusted to run a fair contest, so the regional party will supervise. And there will be a pre-agreed list of affiliates allowed to submit votes, which rather evens up the playing field.

Game on!