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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.

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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.

Election 2017 – your candidates

12 May

The lists of candidates standing in the general election for the two Newham constituencies have been published.

East Ham

  • Choudhry Afzal – Friends Party
  • Kirsty Finlayson – Conservative
  • Chidi Oti-Obihara – Green Party
  • Daniel Oxley – UKIP
  • Stephen Timms – Labour
  • Glanville Williams – Liberal Democrats
  • Mirza Zillur Rahman – Independent

West Ham

  • Rosamund Beattie – UKIP
  • Lyn Brown – Labour
  • Paul Reynolds – Liberal Democrats
  • Kayode Shedowo – Christian Peoples Alliance
  • Patrick Spencer – Conservative
  • Michael Spracklin – Green Party

As it stands

18 Nov

After the first set of trigger ballot meetings, the score stands at nine wards to three in favour of automatically reselecting Sir Robin Wales as Labour’s candidate.

The detailed results are: 

Ward Yes No
Beckton 16 3
Canning Town South 6 8
Custom House 7 6
East Ham North 20 23
Forest Gate North 13 30
Forest Gate South 34 21
Green Street West 36 32
Manor Park* 30 30
Plaistow North 27 17
Royal Docks 11 1
Wall End 20 18
Totals: 220 189

* Result of the first ballot. A re-vote was taken, even though two people had left. The final result was 29 yes, 28 no, with one vote declared spoiled. 

 In an interview with the Newham Recorder Cllr John Gary said

“It is neck and neck… the wards that were always more likely to vote yes were held this week.

“The wards that are more likely to vote no are more likely to vote next week.

 “There is already an earthquake in Newham politics; there has never been a challenge like this in Newham wards.”

The decision to hold the trigger ballot early, thereby disenfranchising hundreds of new party members, is the subject of a complaint to Labour HQ. And at the London Labour conference last week Jeremy Corbyn promised to raise the matter with the national executive.

Trigger democracy

31 Oct

How else are you supposed to illustrate a post about a Trigger ballot?

The process to select Labour’s candidate for mayor of Newham at the May 2018 local elections has begun. And it’s being run to a very tight timetable.

An email went out last week from Cllr Patrick Murphy to members of the local campaign forum (LCF) setting out the process. Local party branches and affiliated organisations – trade unions, the Co-op Party – have to meet before 4 December to consider an ‘affirmative nomination’. The borough-wide result will be announced the next day.

The clear intention is that Sir Robin Wales will be re-selected unopposed via this so-called ‘trigger ballot’. Only if a majority of branches vote No will there be an opportunity for other candidates to put themselves forward.

But why the hurry? The election is more than 18 months away and Newham is rock-solid Labour. There’s no disadvantage to the party in taking a bit more time to select its candidate.

Perhaps there’s a clue in Cllr Murphy’s email. In it he also announced the freeze date – October 25th. Only members who have been in the party for six full months prior to this date are able to participate in the vote. So all those new, enthusiastic members inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign who joined over the summer are bang out of luck. 

And it’s certainly no coincidence that the person in charge of the process – Cllr Murphy – is a member of the mayor’s inner circle. He’s on the payroll as ‘community lead councillor’ for Royal Docks and has a personal interest in getting his man into position ASAP. Indeed he is so keen that he has already been out door-knocking unsuspecting party members to canvass support for the incumbent. In any sensible organisation his role as Procedures Secretary would be untenable. 

But maybe – just maybe – this time Sir Robin won’t get things all his own way.

A group of local activists has launched a campaign called Trigger Democracy, calling on local members to vote No to the affirmative nomination and trigger an open selection.

They point out that Wales has been running Newham since 1995 – first as leader of the council and then from 2002 as the directly elected mayor. Only once in all that time has he faced a contested vote among party members. In 2002 he defeated John Saunders for the very first nomination. A lot has changed in Newham and the Labour party in the past 14 years!

Of course an open selection does not necessarily mean the end of Sir Robin. He might prove to be the best possible candidate and if so members could re-select him. But the very least that the party should do is give themselves a choice. Surely among the 60 councillors there are a few who have the ambition and vision to offer an alternative. Or maybe there is a credible candidate in another role?

I’m not in the Labour party – I left more than 10 years ago – but I urge all those who are to vote No. Give yourselves – and the rest of us – a chance to debate an alternative vision for Newham’s future.

There’s more information on the Trigger Democracy campaign on the web, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Boundary review 2018

13 Sep

As part of the government’s drive to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and make parliamentary constituencies more equally sized, the Boundary Commission has published its proposals for London.

At the moment we have two seats in Newham – East Ham and West Ham. Each contains 10 of the 20 wards in the borough. But both seats are very large – in fact West Ham is the largest in London, with more than 80,000 voters. By contrast, the (Tory-held) Kensington seat has only 55,000.

The Boundary Commission’s proposals add about half a seat to Newham, but do so by ripping apart West Ham and dividing it between three new or revised constituencies:

We propose a Forest Gate and Loxford constituency, which includes three wards from the existing East Ham constituency, two wards from the existing Ilford South constituency, and four wards from the existing West Ham constituency. This configuration brings the Newham borough wards of Green Street East and Green Street West together in the same constituency. 

In Newham, we noted that the borough was too large for two constituencies. We propose an East Ham constituency, which retains seven wards from the existing East Ham constituency, and adds two wards from the existing West Ham constituency. We also propose a Bow and Canning Town constituency, which includes four wards from the existing West Ham constituency, two Tower Hamlets borough wards from the existing Poplar and Limehouse constituency, and two wards from the existing Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. 

The exact make-up of the new constituencies, with wards, boroughs and current voters:

Bow and Canning Town

Canning Town North Newham 8,333
     
Canning Town South Newham 8,543
     
Stratford and New Town Newham 12,471
     
West Ham Newham 8,073
     
Bow East Tower Hamlets 10,427
     
Bow West Tower Hamlets 7,850
     
Bromley North Tower Hamlets 5,980
     
Bromley South Tower Hamlets 6,532
     
Lansbury Tower Hamlets 9,623
     
  Total 77,832


East Ham

Beckton Newham 7,335
     
Boleyn Newham 8,696
     
Custom House Newham 6,971
     
East Ham Central Newham 8,867
     
East Ham North Newham 8,682
     
East Ham South Newham 8,347
     
Plaistow South Newham 8,290
     
Royal Docks Newham 6,081
     
Wall End Newham 8,418
     
  Total 71,687


Forest Gate and Loxford

Forest Gate North Newham 8,392
     
Forest Gate South Newham 8,862
     
Green Street East Newham 8,875
     
Green Street West Newham 8,752
     
Little Ilford Newham 8,873
     
Manor Park Newham 8,636
     
Plaistow North Newham 8,215
     
Clementswood Redbridge 8,051
     
Loxford Redbridge 8,841
     
  Total 77,497

You can comment on the proposals at the Commission’s special review website, or at a public hearing. The nearest one to us will be at Romford Town Hall on 31 October and 1 November.

Forest Gate North results

15 Jul

SeyiAkiwowo 2016 Jul 15

Newly-elected Anamul Islam joins his fellow councillors

The results of yesterday’s by-election in Forest Gate North have been announced:

Candidate Party Votes Percent
Anamul Islam Labour Party 1150 52.5
Elisabeth Whitebread Green Party 681 31.1
John Oxley Conservatives 301 13.8
James Rumsby Liberal Democrats 57 2.6

 Turnout: 21.3%

So congratulations to Anam and commiserations to the other candidates.

To no-one’s great surprise, Labour held the seat comfortably with more than 50% of the vote. But their vote was down about 5% on the 2014 election. Interestingly, another by-election in Islington last night saw a similar decline. Perhaps even at the local level the negative consequences of the current party infighting are being felt.

Although they didn’t win, the Greens will be celebrating too. Second place and 31% of the vote is a terrific performance. They put a lot of energy into the campaign and benefited from having an excellent candidate. 

The Tories fractionally increased their vote, but remain (ha!) a very long way from being contenders in this part of the borough.

The Liberal Democrat candidate withdrew from the contest not long after nominations closed, so it was a surprise to see his name on the ballot paper yesterday. There was no advice at the polling station to let voters know either. In the end it didn’t matter much, but had his vote been greater than the gap between first and second it might have created an interesting challenge for the returning officer.