Archive | April, 2019

Euro Elections – the Newham connection

24 Apr

Elections to the European parliament will held on 23 May and voters will have the chance to select representatives who will sit in Brussels and Strasbourg for – all being well – the next five years.

Across the main parties there are six candidates with strong Newham connections.

Cllr Rohit Dasgupta (Canning Town South) is on Labour’s list for South East England. He has been a Newham councillor since May 2018 and contested the East Hampshire seat in the 2017 general election. Dr Dasgupta is secretary of Newham Fabians.

Cllr James Beckles (Custom House) is a Labour candidate in London. He has been a Newham councillor since 2014 and is currently cabinet member for Crime and Community Safety. Cllr Beckles sits on the Progress Strategy Board and is vice chair of Newham Co-operative Party.

Rachel Collinson, who is standing for the Green Party in London, was her party’s candidate in West Ham in the 2015 general election and the GLA candidate for City & East in 2016. She stood in Stratford and New Town in the 2018 local elections. She is the Green Party Business, Innovation and Skills national spokesperson.

For the Conservatives, Attic Rahman is a former chair of East Ham Conservatives. He stood in Royal Docks in the May 2018 local elections and Little Ilford in 2014.

UKIP leader Gerard Batten lives in Forest Gate. He has represented London in the European parliament since 2004. Previously he sought election to Newham council in 2002 in Forest Gate North and in 1993 Park ward, where he won just 75 votes for the Anti Federalist League.

Also standing for UKIP, in the north west of England, is former Newham councillor (2002 – 2010) Alan Craig. Craig was the leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance before defecting to his current party. He was the CPA candidate for mayor of Newham in 2002, 2006 and 2010; he stood for mayor of London for the Christian Alliance in 2008. He is UKIP’s national spokesperson for Families & Children.

UPDATE BONUS CONNECTION!

Thanks to @E7_nowandthen on Twitter for pointing out that Change UK/The Independent Group candidate Carole Tongue represented the old London East European constituency from 1984 to 1999, and this included the Newham North East parliamentary constituency (now mostly East Ham). Ms Tongue was the deputy leader of the Labour Group in the European Parliament.

The full list of party candidates for the London constituency (8 MEP seats):

Labour:

  • Claude Moraes*
  • Seb Dance*
  • Katy Clark
  • Laura Parker
  • Murad Qureshi
  • Taranjit Chana
  • James Beckles
  • Sanchia Alasia

Conservative:

  • Syed Kamall*
  • Dr Charles Tannock*
  • Joy Morrissey
  • Timothy Barnes
  • Scott Pattenden
  • Attic Rahman
  • Kirsty Finlayson
  • Luke Parker

Liberal Democrats:

  • Irina Von Wiese
  • Dinesh Dhamija
  • Luisa Porritt
  • Jonathan Fryer
  • Hussain Khan
  • Helen Cross
  • Graham Colley
  • Rabina Khan

Green Party:

  • Scott Ainslie
  • Gulnar Hasnain
  • Shahrar Ali
  • Rachel Collinson
  • Eleanor Margolies
  • Remco van der Stoep
  • Kirsten de Keyser
  • Peter Underwood

Change UK (The Independent Group):

  • Gavin Esler
  • Jan Vincent-Rostowski
  • Carole Tongue
  • Annabel Mullin
  • Karen Newman
  • Nora Mulready
  • Jessica Simor
  • (plus one TBC)

UKIP:

  • Gerard Batten*
  • Richard Braine
  • Peter Muswell
  • Freddy Vachha
  • Peter McIlvenna
  • Robert Stephenson
  • John Poynton
  • Ronie Johnson

Animal Welfare Party:

  • Vanessa Hudson
  • Jane Smith
  • Sam Morland
  • Ranjan Joshi
  • Mina Da Rui
  • Jon Homan
  • Simon Gouldman

The Brexit Party:

  • Ben Habib
  • Lance Forman
  • Graham Shore
  • Alka Sehgal Cuthbert
  • Jimi Ogunnusi
  • Simon Marcus
  • Mehrtash A’zami
  • Aileen Quinton

UK European Union Party:

  • Pierre Kirk
  • Richard Stevens
  • Saleyha Ahsan
  • Anna Novikova
  • Angela Antetomaso
  • Richard Boardman

Women’s Equality Party:

  • Catherine Mayer
  • Bea Gare
  • Nanci Hogan
  • Aliyah Dunbar-Hussain
  • Hannah Barham-Brown
  • Alison Marshall
  • Olivia Patton-Vincenti
  • Leyla Mohan

Independents (not a party list – each candidate is standing on their own)

  • Daze Aghaji
  • Roger Hallam
  • Alan Kirkby
  • Kofi Klu
  • Zoe Lafferty
  • Claudia Mcdowell
  • Andrew Medhurst
  • Henry Muss
  • Mike Shad
  • Ian Sowden
  • Andrea Venzon

* sitting MEP seeking re-election

Correction (25/04/2019): the original version of this post said James Beckles is the secretary of Newham Co-operative Party. That post is held by Cllr Neil Wilson.

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West Ham Labour cancels meeting

1 Apr

Wenborne and Hedley

The CWU Postal Engineering Branch delegate to West Ham CLP (left, obvs.) in his other job.

West Ham Labour party cancelled its monthly general committee (GC) meeting last week, after rival motions were proposed on the matter of antisemitism in the party. One affirms “our solidarity with the Jewish community and the Jewish Labour Movement as antisemitism in the UK continues to rise and is found within our own party.” Another confirms the CLP’s “implacable hostility to all forms of racism, anti-semitism and Islamophobia, and its determination to fight them in all their manifestations.”

But a third, proposed by the Postal Engineering Branch of the Communications Workers Union, “refutes the allegation that Labour is antisemitic” and

rejects the current atmosphere of hysteria, denunciation and rush-to-judgement over antisemitism that is now being stoked by certain existing and ex-Labour MPs and amplified by the mainstream media…

…too often, accusations of anti-semitism are blown out of all proportion; use distorted comments or quotations taken out of context; or are levelled against those who are making justified criticism of the unjust treatment of Palestinians by the current Israeli government.

The motion continues: “This relentless focus on antisemitism is diverting the public’s attention… and side-lining other forms of racism such as Islamophobia and other prejudices against immigrants.” It alleges that allegations of bullying in the party are “a cynical tactic by those Labour MPs who have become unpopular with their local members because they are unwilling to democratically represent them.”

This all follows an ill-tempered episode during the February GC meeting when the guest speaker Dr Bob Gill, who had been invited to speak on the NHS, made a comment in which he suggested that allegations of antisemitism within the Labour Party were ‘fake’ and ‘a distraction.’ Formal complaints have been made about the conduct of certain delegates following those remarks. Arguments continued at the Executive Committee two weeks later.

Local party officers took advice from London region before deciding to cancel the meeting, telling delegates “if we simply debate these we are in danger of repeating the events of February, rather than moving forward in a more positive manner.”

The CWU postal engineering branch delegate to West Ham GC is also the chair of Newham Momentum. Last September, the group hosted a meeting with Chris Williamson MP, as part of the latter’s Deselection (sorry, ‘Democracy’) Roadshow. Williamson was later suspended from the Labour Party over remarks he made about, er, antisemitism.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Labour Party in West Ham. I am not a member of the General Committee.

Hat-Tip to Jewish News for their original coverage of this story