Two of Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayors as well as the leader of Ealing Council are today hoping to be shortlisted as potential Labour candidates for the Ealing North parliamentary constituency.
James Murray, who is deputy mayor for housing at City Hall, and his colleague Rajesh Agrawal, who is deputy mayor for business, are both on a long list of hopefuls to be interviewed today, as is Julian Bell, who has been leader of Ealing Council since 2010.
The longlist for the seat, which has been represented by Stephen Pound since 1997, also includes Ealing councillors Sitarah Anjum and Aysha Raza, Brent councillor Vincent Lo, Southall-raised former Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda and Islington councillor Rakhia Ismail, according to local sources of Labour List.
Pound has decided to stand down at the next general election. He retained the seat with an increased majority in 2017, taking 66 per cent of the vote.
Murray, who was Islington’s cabinet member for housing before joining Mayor Khan’s team, is widely seen as one of the stars of the Khan administration, winning respect across the housing sector for his grasp of policy and the practicalities of maximising the supply of affordable homes in a difficult financial climate. In campaign material (pictured) Murray has stressed that he grew up in Ealing. He has the backing of the Unite and, reportedly, GMB unions and is known to have voted for his then Islington colleague Jeremy Corbyn to become party leader.
Agrawal moved to London from India in 2001 and started successful businesses using new technology to assist international money transfers. He was appointed chair of Oxfam’s enterprise development programme in 2015 and is a patron of the Prince’s Trust. He is regarded as an energetic interface between City Hall and London’s business communities, seeking to enact the Mayor’s promise to be a strong advocate for the capital’s employers and entrepreneurs.
Bell, one of the longer-serving borough leaders, was first elected to the council in 2002 and has chaired the transport and environment committee of the cross-party body London Councils since 2014.
Update: Since this article went live, a shortlist has been drawn up, which has both Murray and Agrawal on it, along with Anjum and Raza.
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