Tag Archives: Charlene Mclean

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.

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Leave of absence

23 Feb

Sheila and Charlene

Spot the difference

At last night’s full council meeting members agreed to grant an extended leave of absence to long-serving Canning Town councillor Sheila Thomas.

Cllr Thomas hasn’t attended a meeting since last September due to ill health. If last night’s motion hadn’t been passed she’d have been removed from office on 21st March and a by-election called to fill the vacancy.

All very fair and decent. After all, it’s not Sheila Thomas’s fault she’s too poorly to go to meetings.

So why, I wonder, wasn’t the same courtesy extended to Charlene McLean last year when she was unable to attend after giving birth to an extremely premature baby, who required months of intensive care and attention? Cllr McLean believed she was on maternity leave. No-one bothered to tell her she wasn’t or to organise getting her to a meeting. She was expelled from the council. Happily, she regained her seat at the subsequent by-election.

Let’s be charitable and say that Newham Labour has learned its lesson. The alternative explanation is altogether less appealing.