After all those rumours, Sally Gimson has confirmed today that she is ‘seriously considering’ challenging council leader Sarah Hayward at the Labour group’s AGM. It’s not quite clear whether this has come out early by accident (maybe it was impossible to keep a lid on such a bombshell) or design (maybe her backers think more councillors can be persuaded over a longer course race).
Although ‘seriously considering’ doesn’t mean ‘definitely, yes I will’, the Sally camp seem pretty adamant that she is unlikely to back away from the idea now. It’s almost gone too far already, and has reached the stage where if she steps away now then she risks looking like a bottler. She is apparently enthused for the debate ahead.
And she will need to be. For Sarah isn’t about to cash in her chips like Nash Ali did in when it was her doing the challenging for the top spot in 2012. He stepped down before the vote; the incumbent usually feels like they need to not just win, but win decisively. Sarah tonight said challenge is ‘healthy’ but urged councillors to keep their focus.
“Challenge is a healthy and essential part of democracy, but these matters are settled each May in Camden Labour group. That is clearly some way off and our residents expect us to be focused on the borough, not ourselves. Camden Labour is united against the threats posed to our communities by the Tories: disproportionate cuts, HS2 and the end of social housing. We must stay focused on these issues.”
“I am seriously considering it. It is early days, the AGM is not until May. Before then I must speak to party colleagues and members across the two constituencies. The unity of the group of councillors comes before everything else.”