A CALMER night for Camden’s Labour Party this evening as sitting councillors Richard Olszewski and Lorna Russell were re-selected as candidates in Fortune Green, and new face Sorin Floti was chosen.
Big Phil Turner, the former leader of the council, always says he doesn’t really want to return to the council’s green benches, although only the unrivalled durability of Lib Dem councillor Flick Rea stopped it from becoming a reality in this ward in 2012. He was on the list again tonight but apparently could be heard telling people that they would be better off with Mr Floti, who could now become Camden’s first Romanian councillor. As suggested on these pages earlier today, it does mean the West Hampstead ward has lost one of its runners due to last night’s bounced meeting.
Cllr Russell tweeted a very enthusiastic welcome to mark Mr Floti’s arrival on our political scene with this picture, sandwiched between two men who must be among the tallest members of the Labour Party in Camden. I’m guessing 6ft4 or so for Mr Floti, certainly I wouldn’t play him at basketball.
Big Phil remains, of course, one of 53 approved candidates for Labour’s campaign for 54 ballot spots, although as we now know the party will open up the process to new applicants; women only.
There is that other question about Fortune Green is of course: Will Cllr Rea look to defend her seat in the split ward next May? She keeps us guessing, with a yes one week, a knowing smile the next, a nod, a shrug and a scowl. I’ll ask again if I run into her over conference season.
Meanwhile, back to Labour’s mazy search for candidates. The autos have begun in some wards with the three Labour councillors in Holborn and Covent Garden ward – Awale Olad, Sue Vincent and Julian Fulbrook – automatically reselected at a shortlisting meeting without facing an internal vote. Jonathan Simpson and Abdul Hai have had the same pass in King’s Cross, meaning there is an all-woman shortlist for the final slot there with Georgie Robertson among the reported runners.
Next stop: Highgate, then St Pancras and Somers Town