FORMER Mayor Abdul Quadir seems tonight to have been the first casualty of the Camden Labour group’s candidate selection contests ahead of next year’s boroughwide council elections. Reports are coming out of the party to say he has been deselected in the Labour-held Bloomsbury ward after narrowly losing out in a vote to familiar party activist Rishi Mandlani, an energetic soul who some insiders want to characterise as a ‘Haywardite’ when drawing him into chats about possible divisions within the Labour group.
It’s important to note that at this junction that other members insist that factions do not really operate within the group – that personality has sometimes been more divisive than policy – and to try and feel out a Blairite/Brownite, left/right civil war is barking up the wrong tree. And of course you can go round in circles, chasing your tail, on that point if you recall the leadership contest split by just vote last year.
But back to Abdul and Rishi, by all accounts there was not much in the final shakedown of votes. Abdul has switched wards before and may now look what other opportunities are out there. He previously represented Highgate and once made a lunge for the super-safe seat of Somers Town. He is obviously fond and more importantly proud of his service at the Town Hall. He raised a heap of money for hearing loss charity during his mayoral year. But someone did cry ‘watch your back Abdul’ not so long ago and his experience on the backbenches wasn’t enough tonight as Rishi, so long in the background of the by-election pictures, will now get his chance at the front of the stage. Bloomsbury may be a target for the Tories but it’s a ward which is probably ultimately Labour’s to lose.