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The vision thing

7 Mar

Sir Robin has a vision

Sir Robin’s vision for Newham in 1997 (my emphasis added):

There are too many people, those currently living in Newham and those attracted from other London boroughs, who survive on low incomes or who present themselves as homeless. Whilst we will offer support and carry out our legislative duties, our aim will be to increase Newham’s property values and raise the income profile of all our residents.

What we must take action to avoid is a continued flow of people from other boroughs requiring sustained support.

Which helps to explain why, 20 years down the road:

  • The Carpenters Estate remains empty, despite offering hundreds of good quality, low cost homes
  • There’s been an explosion in high-rise ‘luxury’ apartment developments, particularly in Stratford
  • Developers are rarely, if ever, held to the requirement for 35-50% affordable housing set out in the local plan
  • The homeless are routinely harassed in Stratford
  • Poor and vulnerable families are encouraged to take up housing far away from London
  • The many private landlords sat on the Labour benches in council are Sir Robin’s most loyal supporters

Now that he’s being challenged for the party’s nomination Sir Robin is promising to build record levels of ‘council-owned housing.’ But he doesn’t mean council houses, or even affordable homes – he means housing built by Red Door Ventures, the private rented property company owned by the council which charges full market rents for its properties. And which is currently buying up blocks of flats on the other side of London.

RDV is funded by loans from the council; money which is borrowed from the Treasury or banking sector and then re-lent. If the housing bubble bursts and RDV goes bust, guess who’s left with the bill? (Clue: the same people who will ultimately pick up the tab for the Olympic Stadium ‘investment’)

Under Sir Robin’s watch the proportion of people living in private rented accommodation in Newham has rocketed. A report in the Guardian last year said

The regeneration of the borough – or as others would call it, the social cleansing – has increased the number of privately rented housing to 40% of the housing stock, the highest proportion of all London boroughs. The effect of the drop in home ownership means that residents become transient and many social housing tenants are pushed out

The landlord registration scheme may keep the worst offenders out of the market, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for the greedy and unscrupulous. Which shouldn’t be a surprise: Sir Robin had a vision.

It’s time now for a fresh view.


Newham council 2018 -22 (probably)

26 Feb

Forest Gate North candidates and supporters

The Forest Gate North candidates and their supporters

Over the past two weekends Labour members in Newham have been selecting the 60 candidates that will contest May’s local elections. Given the party’s massive polling lead across London and the expectation it will be taking control of true blue Tory boroughs like Wandsworth, the prospect of losing even a single seat in ultra-safe Newham is extremely remote.

One ward, Plaistow South, failed to select any candidates after members rejected both women on the shortlist. The meeting will have to be re-convened.

So here are 57 of the 60 people who will (almost certainly) be your councillors for the next four years:

(* = sitting councillor for the same ward; ** = current councillor for a different ward)

East Ham


  • James Asser
  • Ayesha Chowdhury*
  • Tonii Wilson*


  • Genevieve Kitchen
  • Veronica Oakeshott*
  • Harvinder Singh Virdee*

East Ham South

  • Susan Masters*
  • Quintin Peppiatt*
  • Lakmini Shah*

East Ham Central

  • Julianne Marriott*
  • Aisha Siddiquah
  • Sugathan Thekkeppurayil

East Ham North

  • Daniel Blaney
  • Zuber Gulamussen*
  • Firoza Ahmed Nekiwala*

Green Street East

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Nilufa Jahan
  • Muzibur Rahman

Little Ilford

  • Nazir Ahmed
  • Pushpa Makwana
  • Riaz Mirza

Manor Park

  • Ken Clark**
  • Mariam Dawood
  • Salim Patel*

Royal Docks

  • Steve Brayshaw*
  • Anthony McAlmont*
  • Patrick Murphy*

Wall End

  • Jennifer Bailey
  • Omana Gangadharan
  • Lester Hudson*

West Ham

Canning Town North

  • Ann Easter*
  • Shaban Mohammed
  • Delphine Tohoure

Canning Town South

  • Rohit Dasgupta
  • Alan Griffiths*
  • Belgica Guana

Custom House

  • James Beckles**
  • Rokhsana Fiaz*
  • Patricia Holland*

Forest Gate North

  • Sasha Das Gupta
  • Anam Islam*
  • Rachel Tripp*

Forest Gate South

  • Mas Patel*
  • Tahmina Rahman**
  • Winston Vaughan*

Green Street West

  • Hanif Abdulmuhit*
  • Mushtaq Hussain
  • Mumtaz Khan

Plaistow North

  • Zulfiqa Ali
  • Joy Laguda*
  • Daniel Lee-Phakoe

Plaistow South

  • Selection suspended

Stratford and New Town

  • Joshua Garfield
  • Nareser Natalie Osei
  • Terry Paul*

West Ham

  • John Gray*
  • Charlene McLean**
  • John Whitworth*

A number of sitting councillors are seeking re-selection but have so far not secured a position (with only Plaistow South still to be resolved):

  • Aleen Alarice (sitting councillor in Plaistow South)
  • Jose Alexander
  • Andrew Baikie
  • Clive Furness
  • Idris Ibrahim
  • Mukesh Patel
  • Paul Duraisamy Sathianesan
  • Neil Wilson (sitting councillor in Plaistow South)

In addition, a large number of councillors decided step down this year:

  • Seyi Akiwowo
  • Freda Bourne
  • David Christie
  • Frances Clarke
  • Bryan Collier
  • Ian Corbett
  • Jo Corbett
  • Richard Crawford
  • Unmesh Desai
  • Forhad Hussain
  • Conor McAuley
  • Kay Scoresby
  • Amarjit Singh
  • Ted Sparrowhawk
  • Sheila Thomas
  • Dianne Walls

And three councillors were not eligible for selection as Labour candidates due to suspension from the party:

  • Obaid Khan
  • Ahmed Noor
  • Rohima Rahman

Over and out?

15 Feb

Councillor Forhad Hussain is not seeking re-selection as a candidate for the elections in May.

He has written to residents and colleagues to let them know:

After eight enjoyable years serving as a local elected councillor in Plaistow, I sadly write to inform my ward residents and local Labour colleagues that I will not be re-standing as a councillor candidate in the upcoming local elections in May 2018. I have thought about this decision a great deal, it was not an easy choice to make but I feel that I need to focus on my young family and develop my career further outside Politics.

However, this is not the end of my involvement in Politics. I will continue to help the Party to win in May’s local elections and in the next General Election to bring in a Labour government.

I would like to thank the Mayor, my local Councillor and Labour party colleagues, council officers, and most importantly Newham residents for their continued support during my time as an elected Councillor and Cabinet Member.

It has been my honour and privilege to represent Plaistow North. I will always cherish the memories I have of working with local residents to deliver many successful community projects. Some key highlights for me include the development of First Avenue Community garden, Plaistow Big Local Glen Rd Murial Project, our first Christmas Tree and Lights switch-on outside Plaistow Station, saving our local library and converting it to an oasis of community activity, the Queen’s visit to Lister Community School and the Tour de France and the Paralympic flame going through Plaistow High St. There are so many more highlights I could mention!

I am really proud of these achievements and my part in making them happen and believe that they have left a lasting legacy in terms of community cohesion.

I want to wish good luck to potential candidates in the Newham local labour Councillor selections. If selected and elected, you have a huge responsibility to help Newham residents improve their lives and support them in the continued challenges they face in everyday life under this vicious Tory government.

My final message to new Councillors: please always remember the reason why you became public servants. Put the interests of Newham residents’ first and deliver local services to improve the lives of our residents. Most importantly do this with a smile on your face! ☺

Many people thought Cllr Hussain would announce a run at the mayoral nomination once the trigger result was formalised. If he was considering that, he’s obviously decided against.

That he’s also decided to stand down altogether is a big surprise. I’m not sure what it says about the state of the Labour Party in Newham, but it’s not good.

Trigger dates

28 Jan

Here are the dates for the Labour Party branch meetings to re-run the trigger ballot.

Branches in West Ham CLP are first between 29th January and 8th February

  • Mon 29th Jan – 7.30pm – WEST HAM – 306 High Street E15 1AJ
  • Tue 30th Jan – 7.30pm – CANNING TOWN NORTH – Neighbourhood Centre, 18 Rathbone Market E16 1EH
  • Tue 30th Jan – 7.30pm- CUSTOM HOUSE – Main Hall, Ascension Church, Baxter Road E16 3HJ
  • Wed 31st Jan – 7 pm – PLAISTOW SOUTH – Barking Road Centre 627 – 633 Barking Road E13 9EZ
  • Wed 31st Jan – 8 pm – PLAISTOW NORTH – Harold Road Community Centre, 170 Harold Rd, London E13 0SE
  • Thur 1st Feb – 7.30pm – FOREST GATE SOUTH – Durning Hall, Resident’s Lounge, Earlham Grove, London E7 9AB
  • Thur 1st Feb – 8 pm – FOREST GATE NORTH – Durning Hall, Earlham Grove, London E7 9AB
  • Thur 1st Feb – TBC – GREEN STREET WEST – venue TBC
  • Thur 1st Feb- 7.30pm – STRATFORD & NEW TOWN – 306 High Street E15 1AJ
  • Thur 8th Feb – 7 pm – CANNING TOWN SOUTH – Cafe Eat 16, 89 Tarling Road, E26 1HN (Old St Luke’s church)

All the East Ham CLP branches will all meet on Sat 10th February at East Ham Town Hall, 328 Barking Road E6 2RP at the following times:

  • 10.00am – BOLEYN
  • 10.30am – BECKTON
  • 11.30am – EAST HAM CENTRAL
  • 12.30pm – EAST HAM NORTH
  • 1.30pm – EAST HAM SOUTH
  • 2.30pm – LITLLE ILFORD
  • 3.00pm – ROYAL DOCKS
  • 3.30pm – GREEN STREET EAST
  • 4.00pm – MANOR PARK
  • 4.30pm – WALL END

West Ham Women’s Forum will meet on the deadline day of Sun 11th Feb at 18.30 at Vicarage Lane Community Centre, Govier Close E15 4HW

If you are a Labour member, please attend your branch meeting and vote NO, which is a vote for an open selection. You are advised to arrive in good time (half an hour early) as late-comers will be turned away. You need to take your Labour Party membership card or another form of ID.

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.

Time after time

15 Aug

By the time next year’s election rolls around 15 current members of the council will have held their seats continuously for 20 years or more.

The table below shows exactly how long they’ve been around

Name Date elected Years to date
A SINGH 04/05/1978 39.31
C McAULEY 06/05/1982 35.30
R WALES* 09/07/1992 25.12
I CORBETT 09/07/1992 25.12
L HUDSON 05/05/1994 23.30
E SPARROWHAWK 05/05/1994 23.30
N WILSON 05/05/1994 23.30
C FURNESS 01/05/1997 20.30
Q PEPPIATT 01/05/1997 20.30
U DESAI 07/05/1998 19.30
R CRAWFORD 07/05/1998 19.29
J LAGUDA 07/05/1998 19.29
W VAUGHAN 07/05/1998 19.29
P SATHIANESAN 07/05/1998 19.29
P HOLLAND 07/05/1998 19.29

 *Robin Wales was also previously on the council from 1982 to 1986.

When local branches meet this autumn to select their candidates, one thing they should consider is the urgent need to freshen up the Labour group.

NOTE: The original version of this post stated that 16 members will have held their seats for 20 years or more and the table included Cllr Bryan Collier. It has been pointed out that Cllr Collier was defeated at the 2006 election and returned to the council in 2010, so his current continuous service is just over seven years; first elected in 1994, his total period as councillor is more than 19 years. The same is true for Cllr Alan Griffiths.

Tory candidate selected

21 Jul

Rahima Khan, Conservative mayoral candidate for Newham

Rahima Khan, Conservative mayoral candidate

Newham Conservatives have selected their candidate for next year’s mayoral election.

And their announcement throws a good deal of shade at their Labour counterparts

Conservatives in West Ham have come together with fellow members from East Ham for a full open democratic selection to pick Rahima Khan as the Conservative candidate for the directly elected Mayor of Newham, to be elected on 3rd May 2018, the same day as the election for Newham Council.

“A full open democratic selection.”

When the Tories can claim the democratic high ground, you know you’ve got a problem.