White flags in Westminster

LOCAL history in the making next: For the first time in 50 years, Labour has failed to post a ‘full slate’ of council candidates in Westminster City Council elections, to be held on the same day as the General Election.

As journalist Jamie Welham reports on the West End Extra, the decision not to have a full team has handed the Conservatives a free stick to bash the Labour group with. Not that they needed one in a borough locked up and in full command of the Tories. Conservative council leader Colin Barrow couldn’t resist pointing out that it looked like the opposition was raising the white flag already:

It’s clear that the Labour Party in Westminster has given up. Two weeks ago Labour said it was time for big change in Westminster. How can they change Westminster when they can’t even be bothered to fight every seat.

There is an explanation from Labour that they are encouraging tactical voting in areas where it has not fared well before. The group is trying to stir an anti-Tory vote and there may be some long division that makes that a sensible strategy for Labour in Westminster.

But further afield, there is a risk that everybody outside the City Hall bubble thinks you just come across as puny and short on both ideas and numbers on the ground. In Camden, neither Labour or the Conservatives would dare fielding anything short of a full slate. The Liberal Democrats and the Greens have done the same.

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