Labour Party members in the Ilford South parliamentary constituency have chosen trade unionist and former Barking & Dagenham councillor Sam Tarry as their candidate for the next general election following a bitter contest to fight the likely safe Labour seat.
Labour List has reported that Tarry was selected at a meeting last night, finishing ahead of four other hopefuls, including the deputy leader of Redbridge Council Kam Rai, who entered the race after it was restarted following the controversial suspension of council leader Jas Athwal, formerly Tarry’s chief rival, the night before voting had originally been scheduled to take place on 5 October.
Supporters of Athwal alleged the suspension was a stitch-up orchestrated by allies of Tarry, a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, in the upper reaches of the Labour Party nationally, something the party has firmly denied. A number of sources have told On London that the complaint against Athwal was lodged by a man well-known in Labour circles locally who has a history of what one called “vexatious” complaints against fellow Labour members.
Tarry, who is the political officer of the TSSA, enjoyed backing from a number of other unions as well as several Labour MPs and pro-Corbyn activist group Momentum. One of his local supporters, Syed Eyamen Siddiqi, who announced earlier this year that he’d been elected chair of Momentum’s Ilford branch, himself appears to be suspended from Labour. Siddiqi has declined to respond to requests from On London to clarify whether or not his suspension is still in place.
Athwal, who is also executive member for crime and public protection with London Councils, the cross-party body that represents all London’s local authorities, and was the preference of most borough leaders in East London, is looking into possible legal action against Labour.
Campaigner Sonia Klein, who withdraw from the original selection contest at the end of last month and supported Athwal instead, wrote at the time of “threats, bullying and bribes” and “old colonial tactics of divide and conquer” when announcing this move. Tarry has defended tailoring some campaign literature to particular faith groups as legitimately recognising their specific needs.
He will succeed the constituency’s current MP Mike Gapes as Labour candidate following Gapes’s decision to join the Independent Group for Change early this year. Gapes won Ilford South in 2017 by a margin of 31,647 votes, representing 75.8 per cent of the total cast.
News from other Labour candidate selection contests.
Sitting MP for Barking Margaret Hodge was “triggered” by local members and must therefore defeat challengers if she is defend her seat. She faces Josie Channer, Laila Butt and Moniba Khan.
The shortlist for Ealing North, where current Labour MP Stephen Pound is standing down, is: Rajesh Agrawal, Sadiq Khan’s deputy for business; James Murray, Mayor Khan’s deputy for housing; and Ealing councillor Aysha Raza. A fourth member, Sitarah Anjum, appears to have withdrawn.
The shortlist for Enfield North, where current MP Joan Ryan left Labour to join the Independent Group for Change, is: Sanchia Alasia, a Barking & Dagenham councillor; Feryal Demirci, a Hackney councillor; Dean Gilligan, a Harrow councillor; and Margaret Greer, an Enfield councillor. More details from Labour List. The selection process for this seat has been somewhat fraught.
Erith & Thamesmead, where Teresa Pearce is standing down: Abena Oppong-Asare, Denise Scott-MacDonald and Nadine Houghton.
For Poplar & Limehouse, whose Labour incumbent Jim Fitzpatrick is standing down, the shortlist is: Tower Hamlets councillor Amina Ali; Momentumite Apsana Begum; and Progress activist Heather Peto.
For Streatham, Lambeth Council deputy leader Jennifer Brathwaite; Lambeth councillor Marcia Cameron; and Bell Ribeiro-Addy, who is Diane Abbott’s political adviser. This candidacy is available due to Chuka Umunna leaving Labour. He’s now joined the Liberal Democrats.
In Vauxhall, where Kate Hoey is standing down, the shortlist is: former Wantage parliamentary candidate Stephen Beer; Corbyn’s former political secretary Katy Clark; Lambeth councillor Ibrahim Dogus; London Assembly Member Florence Eshalomi; and Lambeth Council deputy leader Claire Holland.
Labour List is reporting a new longlist for Cities of London & Westminster following the suspension of the original Labour candidate for the seat, Steven Saxby. Interestingly, Mayor Khan’s deputy for business Rajesh Agrawal is on this as well as the Ealing North shortlist.
Updated at 20:22.
OnLondon.co.uk strives to provide high quality coverage of all the big London issues. The site depends on donations from readers. Can you spare £5 (or more) a month? All contributions gratefully received. Thank you.