GLENDA Jackson is due at Labour GC tonight for a speech full of thanks but ultimately confirming the biggest non-secret in north London politics: she’s won’t stand for Hampstead and Kilburn again and will retire undefeated at the ballot box at the next General Election.
And so the background jostling to find a new Glenda will come to the forefront in the local Labour party. The party will have to decide whether the constituency will be subject an all-woman shortlist. There is a bit of resistance to this locally with that natural irritation at having rules thrust on them.
It’s an intriguing situation. Over the last two years, scores of names have been linked with this seat. Everybody from Tony McNulty to Oona King to Eddie Izzard. Fiona Millar is named again and again.
Some of the faces up at the Town Hall, who feel they have served their apprenticeships in council politics and deserve a fair shot, would certainly be frustrated if another ‘outsider’ strolled in and collected the spoils. Three serving councillors are definitely interested: Mike Katz, Tulip Siddiq, Camden’s leisure chief, and Sally Gimson. Thomas Gardiner is also mentioned and the gossip machine naturally chit-chats about council leader Sarah Hayward. Dealing with the ‘do you want to be an MP’ is almost part of being a London council leader, just ask Claire Kober in Haringey or Catherine West in Islington.
The local group, in general, say they see her manifesto for the leadership as a pledge not to desert the leader’s office for Parliament straightaway. Whenever this is mentioned in her corridor, however, her Labour colleagues often then add: ‘But we’ll see’. It’s all a guessing game which only a master gambler could win at.