SURPRISE, no surprise: Georgia Gould this evening emailed the Labour group to confirm she will be standing for leader of the Labour group – and Camden Council – following this week’s announcement from Sarah Hayward that she is stepping down. This chain of events is not the greatest shock in the world – a couple of Labour sources were briefing that this is exactly how things would play out as long as six weeks ago and it has come to pass like clockwork.
There was a curious moment, for both of us I guess, a couple of weeks ago after all this backstage gossip and innuendo: I asked Georgia directly after a council meeting about the possibility of her imminently becoming the next council leader, and she switched into pro-politician/football manager mode and came up with the perfect lines about there being no vacancy and that Camden already had a good leader, and that she was very happy doing what she was doing.
We then looked together at the names carved into the marble outside the council chamber and discussed how long leaders usually went on for, and whether the role would come up SOONER or later. She’s pretty useful with a straight bat.
She is being called ‘the chosen one’ by some cynics in Labour’s most sceptical quarters – there’s pic of her being held up by Neil Kinnock as a babba, and the CNJ photo of her meeting Margaret Hodge as an A-Level student – but a succession plan was surely always on the cards once Sarah had told the councillors closest to her that she planned to step down. Now we must wait and see if anybody else comes forward to create a contest, rather than a coronation.
You can read the full text of her email to group HERE.