Haringey leader Claire Kober comfortably defeats Corbynite de-selection bid

by Dave Hill

Predictions that supporters of Jeremy Corbyn would unseat Haringey Council’s Labour leader Claire Kober over her administration’s extensive redevelopment plans for the borough have proved resoundingly wrong, with the Seven Sisters ward councillor winning tonight’s re-selection vote by a massive 64 votes to 19.

Kober’s fellow Seven Sisters councillor Dhiren Basu was also comfortably nominated to automatically defend his seat at next year’s borough elections, while the two prospective candidates to succeed the third councillor for the ward, Kober’s cabinet colleague Joe Goldberg who is standing down, are reportedly not from the local party’s Momentum wing.

All three sitting councillors for the Northumberland Park ward, containing the Northumberland Park estate which would be demolished under the council’s plans, were all re-selected tonight. Two are in favour of the council’s formation of a joint venture company with developer Lendlease – called the Haringey Development Vehicle, or HDV -and one is against.

In a striking sign that attitudes to the HDV have not so far been the decisive factor some expected, one opponent of it, Tottenham Hale councillor Vincent Carroll was defeated in his ward vote and will now go through a shortlisting process with other prospective candidates, should he wish to fight on. In June 2016 Carroll signed a petition asking Corbyn to stand down as leader but has since apparently converted to the Corbyn cause.

A second sitting councillor for Tottenham Hale, Lorna Reith, also failed to win her “trigger ballot”. A long-serving councillor, she is on the left of party but is said to have been targeted by the local Momentum faction and the anti-HDV campaign since proposing a motion to strengthen protections for tenants and leaseholders under the plan, which was seen as propping up the project. The third councillor for the ward, Reg Rice, has gone forward automatically.

In the fourth ward branch to meet this evening, Woodside, Councillor Pete Mitchell reportedly won his trigger ballot and Councillor Charles Wright did not. The third councillor, Ann Waters, is standing down.

Earlier today, Goldberg posted on Facebook the text of a letter he has sent to Seema Chandwani, a strong Corbyn supporter who was recently elevated to the role of Labour’s local procedures secretary, responsible for running the re-selection process. In a barely veiled reference to fellow outgoing councillor Stuart McNamara, who has released to the press a vicious parting attack on Kober, he told Chandwani:

“The irony of a colleague using his withdrawal to attack the fitness of an individual to be on the [candidate] panel is not wasted on me, especially when the records and behaviour of many of those that have been approved will simply not stand up to the slightest piece of public scrutiny. It betrays an arrogance which should be a source of shame for us all.”

Further ward selection meetings will take place in the next few weeks.

This report will be updated further if and when more details come in.

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