Labour’s London region has released the full list of those shortlisted to be candidates for London Assembly seats in next May’s elections. Many of those chosen have already made this public, but we now have all the contenders, as it were, officially in one place.
Current Labour constituency AMs who wish to defend their seats have already been re-selected, so the party’s candidates for Merton & Wandsworth (Leonie Cooper AM), Lambeth & Southwark (Florence Eshalomi AM), Enfield & Haringey (Joanne McCartney AM), Greenwich & Lewisham (Len Duvall AM), Ealing & Hillingdon (Onkar Sahota AM) and City & East (Unmesh Desai AM) are already decided. That leaves eight constituencies in need of candidates. They will be selected on a one member, one vote basis by members living in the constituency in question.
The eight people who will seek election as Londonwide AMs through a form of proportional representation has also been decided. In that case, the task of Labour members will be to decide in which order the candidates should be listed. This is absolutely crucial to their hopes of winning one of the nine Londonwide seats. At present, Labour has three such AMs. To be confident of winning a seat at City Hall, hopefuls will need to secure one of the top two places on the list. Third place will be in with a chance, but fourth and below probably won’t.
Of the eight constituencies, three are currently Labour-held with incumbents who are to stand down. Potential Labour successors are therefore needed for Barnet & Camden, Brent & Harrow and North East. Four hopefuls have been shortlisted for the first of these: activist Sagal Abdi-Wali, Councillor Faduma Hassan, Young Labour chair Miriam Mirwitch and Councillor Anne Clarke, who has the backing of the current AM, Andrew Dismore. There are two candidates for Brent & Harrow: NHS worker Aghileh Djafari Marbini and Councillor Krupesh Hirani. There are two candidates also for North East, which covers the boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest. They are Councillor Claudia Webbe and Councillor Sem Moema.
Havering & Redbridge was retained by the Conservatives in 2016 by the very narrow margin of 1,438 votes. Labour’s challenge will be made by either Councillor Andrew Achilleos, Councillor Judith Garfield, former Romford parliamentary candidate Angelina Leatherbarrow, Councillor Bob Littlewood or Councillor Vanisha Solanki.
In other constituencies, Labour runners-up in 2016 were much further back. The Tories took Croydon & Sutton by the comfortable margin of 11,614. Either Councillor Patsy Cummings or campaigner Rowenna Davis will try to close that gap next time. In West Central, which is composed of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham boroughs, the difference was 14,564. Councillor Rita Begum or trade unionist Sophie Charman-Blower will contest that seat for Labour next year. The other two constituencies, South West and Bexley & Bromley are very solidly Tory indeed.
And so to the Londonwide list candidates, in alphabetical order. They are:
- Marina Ahmed, who is a councillor in Bromley.
- Elly Baker, a union organiser from Barking.
- Tom Copley, already an AM and also a Lewisham councillor.
- Sem Moema, Hackney councillor, also shortlisted for North East constituency (see above).
- Murad Qureshi, who has served three previous terms as a list AM but lost his seat in 2016.
- Sakina Sheikh, a Lewisham councillor.
- Preston Tabois, a Haringey councillor.
- Liam Young, a Momentumite with several union endorsements.
Those are the candidacy runners and riders. What we don’t know is when voting for them will begin and end. That, the Labour London region says, has yet to be confirmed.
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