THE field of smiling hopefuls looking to win Labour’s selection contest in Holborn and St Pancras have had a busy few days, with three rounds of informal hustings. On Thursday evening, there were said to be ‘more candidates than members’ at the first event at UNITE’s offices in Holborn. It was busier the following evening; I went up to William Ellis to eyeball the candidates as they went in. “It’s smells just the same as it did when I was here as a kid,” said Dr Patrick French, highlighting his local-local credentials. Yesterday, there was a bigger get-together at St Pancras Church.
But now it is time for the individual branches within the constituency to make their nominations, a process spread over tomorrow and Wednesday. Members have been told to bring their ID cards, a pen and a bottle of water so they don’t get dehydrated.
Although an all-woman shortlist has not been imposed, the process is set up to ensure that there won’t be all-male shortlist on the December 13 decision day. Every branch must nominate a woman, with members voting first on the female contenders, before running a second vote on the list of men. Maybe this is an advantage for council leader Sarah Hayward, who, it has been suggested, could sweep a nomination from every branch now that Ivana Bartoletti has dropped out of the race. Or maybe Angela Pober will bust that idea.
Anyhow, the two winners go forward, with a third nomination allowed if a branch wants to include a candidate from an ethnic minority too.