STAND by your beds, Town Hall watchers, here comes a scramble for a prize Labour seat on Camden Council. Not such a huge surprise, Tulip Siddiq has finally told party members that being a councillor in the Regent’s Park ward is too much, given she is now fighting the Hampstead and Kilburn parliamentary seat. She will stay on in the role (and as the council’s leisure boss) until next year but has withdrawn from May’s council elections.
The ward is a good bet for anybody who stands for Labour there, so winning the internal selection effectively means a place on the council. Regent’s Park is currently represented by three councillors who do not live in the ward and a letter to members warns that the party will seek someone who does (or at least works there). That’s not great news for deselected councillor Mike Katz, should he really want to face another roll at this bruising election malarkey. Joynal Uddin has shown interest before, while friends of former councillor Thomas Neumark say, now he’s back from the United States, he should be persuaded to go for it.
A Labour shortlisting meeting has been arranged for January 21.
Ward chairman Robert Latham emails members to say: “Our successful candidate will have four months in which to campaign prior to the election. We currently have a strong team of councillors with Nash, Heather and Tulip. Strictly, the campaign for the Council Elections will only commence some 8 weeks before the election. Until then, it is our three ward councillors who have the responsibility to represent the ward and take up issues on behalf of those living or working in the ward.”
There is also a new selection in Swiss Cottage in the Labour ranks, but the ward is not seen as a realistic target and will generate less internal excitement.