Tag Archives: Labour

Gaining Momentum

22 Aug

Newham Momentum members with Chris Williamson MP

Newham Momentum members with Chris Williamson MP in Ilford

Chris Williamson MP will be in Forest Gate next month to address the Newham branch of Momentum, as part of his Democracy Roadshow. Although ostensibly a call for mandatory re-selection of all Labour MPs, these ‘road show’ events are mostly being held in constituencies held by MPs on the centre left of the party, leading them to be dubbed by some as the ‘Deselection Roadshow.’ 

Earlier this month Williamson spoke in Ilford, whose two MPs – Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting – are noted Corbyn-sceptics. A number of Newham Momentum members attended, including the chair of the council’s Labour Group, Cllr Suga Thekkeppurayil and former councillor Obaid Khan. This resulted in the invitation to for Williamson to come to Newham. I wonder what Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms make of that?

The Derby MP previously courted controversy by suggesting that Labour MPs who agreed with Theresa May that Russia was behind the Salisbury poisonings were as much “political enemies” as the Tories. He suggested they should face de-selection (are you sensing a pattern here?). He has also shared a platform with Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled from the Labour party for haranguing Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the party’s anti-Semitism review in 2016.

Yesterday the Huffington Post reported:

A Labour MP has said it was a “privilege” to meet and listen to a talk by a controversial pro-Assad blogger, who has previously described murdered MP Jo Cox as a “warmongering Al Qaeda advocate”.

Vanessa Beeley made the comment in a tweet almost a year after Cox’s death, and has also written that “Zionists rule France”.

… She has written that the White Helmets, the volunteer group that rescues people from the rubble of Syria’s civil war, is a terrorist-linked organisation that fakes its activities to elicit sympathy in the West for a regime change plot against Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.

Who you appear on a platform with and how their views then attach to you is a hot topic right now. Might councillors who are now so publicly embracing Chris Williamson come to regret it? It’s not just MPs who can find themselves in a re-selection battle.

Outgunned

16 Apr

Yesterday in Canning Town South…

Labour & Co-op Party canvassersTory party canvassers

The Co-op Party’s first ever canvass in Newham drew a rather larger group of campaigners than the Conservatives managed.

The Ballad of Mas Patel

19 Mar

Fgslabour 2018 Mar 17

In good Sir Robin’s golden time, when loyalty no harm meant,
A zealous Walesite councillor was I, and so I gained preferment.
To teach my ward, I never missed: mayors are by the GMB appointed
And damned are those who dare resist or touch Our Leader’s anointed!

(Chorus)
And this be law, that I’ll maintain until my dying day, sir
That whatsoever mayor may reign, Still I’ll have my SRA, sir.

When Rokhsana was our candidate declared, to ease the party’s grievance,
With this new wind about I steered, and swore to her allegiance.
Old principles I did revoke; Set conscience at a distance,
Passive obedience was a joke, a jest was non-resistance.

(Chorus)
And this be law, that I’ll maintain until my dying day, sir
That whatsoever mayor may reign, Still I’ll have my SRA, sir

The illustrious House of Fiaz and democracy’s succession
To these I do allegiance swear – while they can hold possession.
For in my faith and loyalty I never more will falter,
And Rokhsana my lawful mayor shall be – until the times do alter.

(After The Vicar of Bray)

Vile and insulting

8 Mar

Image 2

Remember how Andrea Leadsom torpedoed her own bid for the Tory leadership when she said being a mother gave her “a very real stake in the future of our country,” in contrast to the childless Theresa May? Even Tory MPs described the remarks as “vile” and “insulting.”

Well evidently Cllr Lakmini Shah doesn’t.

In a call with a local Labour member, a recording of which I have heard, she says Rokhsana Fiaz doesn’t understand how important free school meals are because “she’s not married, she hasn’t got children, so she don’t know how hard it is for parents.”

Member: “Cllr Shah?”

Lakmini Shah: “Yes, it is.”

M: “Hi, yeah, I just spoke to you. Basically, I’m with my wife right now. And she’s saying, telling me to vote for Rokhsana, but I told her that, look, you know, they are going to scrap the free school meals. We’ve got two kids in school in, like, infants and one in nursery, so…”

LS: “Yeah”

M; “…but can you explain to her – I’ve put you on loudspeaker – can you just say what you said earlier…”

LS: “Okay”

M: “…about the free school meals?”

LS: “Okay. So Robin has had free school meals for children [pause] and that cost £3 million a year to the council. So Rokhsana says parents should be… because she don’t have children, she’s not married, she hasn’t got children so she don’t know how hard it is for parents. I’ve got three children and I know how hard it is to pay for school meals.

“So they, um, going to stop this free school meals to save this 3 million. I’m not sure if it’s 3 million or 6 million a year, I have to find that number out.”

This is absolutely outrageous.

Lakmini Shah isn’t just some random member canvassing votes for Sir Robin, she’s Cabinet Member for Work & Skills and Domestic Violence Prevention.

Sir Robin needs to take ownership of this and offer Rokhsana Fiaz a full and unreserved apology for what is being said by his campaign.

And Cllr Shah should resign as candidate for East Ham South. If she doesn’t, members should take the decision for her.

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

Beckton

  • James Asser
  • Ayesha Chowdhury*
  • Tonii Wilson*

Boleyn

  • 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, including three who were ineligible due to suspension:

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

Hustings

24 Feb

Details of the mayoral selection hustings have been announced:

Dear member,

As part of the process to select Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Newham, we will be holding two hustings meetings for you to hear from the candidates and ask them questions.

They will be held at:

Tuesday 27 February at 7pm at Royal British Venue, 30A Church Road, London, E12 6AQ

Thursday 1 March at 7pm at Old Stratford Town Hall, 29 Broadway, London, E15 4BQ

Entry is restricted to members who are eligible to vote in this selection. Please bring your membership card or other ID with you and you will only be allowed to attend one of these meetings not both.

We look forward to seeing you next week.

Thanks,

London Labour Party

There doesn’t appear to be a mechanism for members to pre-register a preference for which session to attend and it isn’t clear quite how people who go to the first one will be kept out of the second. But I’m sure the rule-abiding members of Newham Labour Party wouldn’t try to do anything improper!

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.

Data warning

7 Feb

Selection meetings for the 20 ward Labour parties to select their candidates for the council elections in May have been confirmed for 17/18 and 24/25 February.

Martin Tiedemann, regional organiser of the London Labour Party has written to all of the long-listed candidates – rumoured to be more than 100 people – to remind them of the code of conduct and rules for selections.

Membership lists are only available to short-listed candidates… and we will therefore not be providing lists to any candidates, given sort-listing and selection will happen at the same meeting in Newham.

Some candidates, including sitting councillors and CLP or branch officers, may have existing copies of membership lists in relation to the roles they hold. These lists must not be used to canvass for support fore the upcoming selections.

Improper use of membership data, including passing on to other candidates, may be a breach of law or of Labour’s rules, and may put your position on the longlist at risk.

Given that membership data has so recently been mis-used in Newham, this is pertinent advice. But it really hands an advantage to sitting councillors and branch officers. They almost certainly don’t need to use the data to talk to their members – they already know who they are and how to reach them if they want a chat. And I’d be hugely surprised if they resisted the temptation.

Sir Robin says NO!

29 Jan

Sir Robin has finally had to confront reality. He cannot win the trigger ballot if it isn’t rigged by his mates.

But he is putting a brave face on it.

In an email sent to local Labour members this evening he is calling on them to vote for an open selection at the branch trigger ballot meetings:

I am writing to ask you to vote no in the upcoming trigger ballot meetings so that we can have an open contest for Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Newham.

I have also written to all the organisations affiliated to the Newham Labour Party thanking many of them for their support and asking that if they do take part in the up-coming trigger ballot, that they vote no.

Over the next couple of months I want Newham Labour Party members to give their mandate to a Mayoral and 60 councillor candidates, so that we can unite as a party and focus on the Labour-led values and manifesto that we take to residents in the May local elections.

It is important we have an open debate about the vision that we present to the people of Newham.

We can be proud of our achievements that have changed peoples lives for the better:

  • Council Tax frozen for nine years without making cuts to vital frontline services.
  • The largest increase in employment in London, with over 35,000 jobs filled with Newham residents through our jobs brokerage service Workplace.
  • Initiatives such as universal free school meals and Every Child a Musician with 1.2 million musical instrument lessons delivered that have contributed to Newham having some of the best school results in the country. 
  • A ground-breaking private-rented sector licence, that has allowed us to prosecute more criminal landlords than the rest of London combined.
  • The creation of council-owned small businesses, protecting jobs and services and innovating with public-sector reform.

That is the radical agenda that we have been following since I have been Mayor and continues to drive my vision for Newham in the future. It is this record and vision that I want to proudly defend and promote in an open selection.

That is why I am calling on all members and affiliates in Newham to vote in favour of an open selection if they attend their branch meetings to cast their vote on the trigger ballot.

So please vote NO to result in an open selection.

Of course, this could be a huge fake-out and he hopes the email will keep the No voters at home and his friends can all turn up to automatically re-select him. But let’s take him at his word. Labour members should turn up in droves to vote No and win the open selection they wanted in 2016.

You have to wonder why Sir Robin didn’t say this to the NEC or the press a month ago, rather than just at the point the trigger ballot meetings are starting. The open selection, which he now says he wants, could have started sooner and allowed alternative candidates to organise their camp… oh, right. 

Challenger

29 Jan

RF small 306Image

Councillor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE has announced that she will challenge Sir Robin for Labour’s mayoral nomination should the trigger ballot result in an open selection.

She broke the news in an interview with the Newham Recorder over the weekend, which they published this evening.

The Custom House councillor has thrown her hat into the ring ahead of the first wards casting their votes tonight in the re-run of the process.

She said: “I’m putting myself forward for this because I want to offer a fresh start for this council and a new ambitious alternative for Newham.”

Cllr Fiaz, who was born and brought up in the borough, was first elected as a councillor in May 2014 and currently sits as chair of scrutiny as well as a member of the council’s audit board and strategic development committee.

She explained that she was passionate about the issues facing a lot of people living in the borough, including affordable adult social care, the safety of young people and investment in early years education.

“I’m passionate about making sure there are genuinely affordable, quality homes for people,” she added.

“I’ve been working closely with an organisation called Peach, who are in my ward of Custom House, to allow residents to have their say during the regeneration.

“Uniquely, I’m also the only councilor who does regular youth surgeries for young people to come and meet me.”

The trigger ballot, also known as the affirmitive nomination process, is being held to decide whether to automatically select incumbent mayor Sir Robin Wales as Labour’s candidate for May’s election or whether to open it up to other prospective candidates.

Ward meetings in the re-run trigger ballot start tonight.