JUST when it looked like council leader Sarah Hayward was falling behind in the endorsement stakes, she pulls Lord Prezza out of the bag. And John Prescott, being John Prescott, couldn’t just say Sarah was the best person for Holborn and St Pancras following Frank Dobson’s retirement, he also had a pop at the ‘smooth-talking professional politicians’ with which she is apparently up against. No names, we all knew who he thought he was talking about.
So where are we with H & St P? Officially, while we know the identity of most of the contenders, the contest has not properly begun. This means that those who have declared an interest have yet to be supplied with a full list of constituency members to canvass. Normally, they would have eight weeks with these details but the process is likely to be reduced to six here, because organisers are now at risk of running into Christmas.
In the meantime, however, it is fair to assume that Raj Chada, as chairman of the constituency, has at least sight of who in the area is member. Sir Keir Starmer has backers in positions with similar access. Not that either would act improperly with that information, of course.
And Sarah, as council leader, has the opportunity to pretty much email and speak to the whole lot in her role as Town Hall numero uno. This has been perceived as an unfair advantage by some opponents and irritation swirls around her meeting of members at coffee meetings ahead of the contest. Here she can talk, as billed, about the financial strife the council finds itself in, but also, those irritated opponents fume, enjoy the by-product of a free, face-to-face hit on those who hold a vote on finding Frank’s successor.
Tomorrow, the so-called ‘coffee offensive’ reaches Highgate ward, one of the branches with the highest percentage of members.