Blackwell: Back in the race

Theo BlackwellIN the end, was it that he could not tear himself away from the addictive to and fro of Camden politics? Or does he believe the best is yet to come from Labour’s current ranks in the borough?

Whatever the reason, Theo Blackwell – perhaps Camden Labour Party’s most recognisable serving councillor, certainly the one who has risked being lampooned with the most head-over-the-parapet work – has caused ripples of gossipy excitement tonight by rejoining the race for a place on the council.

He was selected as a Labour party candidate in Gospel Oak, what should be a key battleground in the boroughwide council elections on May 6. He replaces Zoe Adamson, daughter of former mayor Ray Adamson, in the campaign.

The Conservatives hold all three seats in the ward but only four years ago it was a Labour neighbourhood held for the party by the likes of former party leader Raj Chada and ex-council treasurer John Mills. Results here will be crucial to any Labour fightback in Camden.

It all comes as a surprise because six months ago, Theo said he, like a shedload of his fellow Labour councillors, was ready to call it a day after two terms – one in power, one in opposition. He gave up his place in Regent’s Park ward, a strong Labour seat, and looked ready to pass on the baton to a new team.

There even seemed to be an affectionate send-off from the Lib Dems he’s spent the last three and half years bashing at the last full council meeting.

But I saw a glint in his eye tonight – he was walking out of the Town Hall as I was walking in for a council meeting – that suggested his thirst for all of this remains unquenched. He can’t bear to be away.

There is talk he had a quickly-aborted test run in Somers Town a few weeks ago when Peter Brayshaw was chosen as the Labour candidate to replace Liverpool Wavertree PPC Luciana Berger.

But Blackwell’s back in it now- and as much as his opponents will mock him for his wobble over whether to stand or not, they would probably rather be fighting a Camden Labour party without him, than one with him. As one of his colleagues said after tonight’s meeting: It’s game on in Gospel Oak.

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