YOU can bet everything you own and more on Labour holding its three seats in King’s Cross at next May’s council elections, so last night’s selection meeting was essentially picking a new councillor, as much as a new candidate. So welcome to the world of Camden politics Georgie Robertson who won the members vote last night. She had originally been tipped to stand in West Hampstead, a ward which is still waiting for candidates after last week’s aborted selection meeting.
No doubt there will have been much rejoicing in the Geoffrey Robertson QC/Kathy Lette – Ms Robertson’s famous parents – household. Truth is left-wingers could not help smile at the thought of Ms Robertson (pictured at London Labour conference last year with Haringey councillor/shaker Adam Jogee), who has worked for Jeremy Corbyn and is out and loud about her support for the new party’s direction nationally, replacing Sarah Hayward on the ballot paper, the former council leader who backed Liz Kendall and then Owen Smith in Labour’s leadership contests.
Ms Robertson will stand alongside cabinet level councillors Jonathan Simpson and Abdul Hai in WC1. There was a push for Sucharitera Sethi from some established players to be chosen ahead of this proud Corbynista. but inbetweener members (with links to neither Momentum or Progress) say that the cajoling backfired with card-carriers beginning to tire of the backstage jockeying. The sharing of Daily Mail articles about expensive schools and dresses – not by Ms Sethi but people who wanted her to win – apparently had a boomerang effect.
Ms Sethi still has lots of wards to play for though and is expected to be swiftly selected in a similarly safe ward before the selections process is finished, so don’t be surprised if she also has a Cllr prefix come May. Experienced councillors say she too will bring new insight to the council, wherever she is elected.
Elsewhere: Kentish Town councillors Meric Apak, Jenny Headlam-Wells and the Town Hall leader Georgia Gould unsurprisingly were reselected through the autos. You feel for any sitting councillor who is not put through under this new system now they have seen lots of their colleagues get a free pass to the elections. Probably won’t happen, but imagine…
Back at the Town Hall, Sabrina Francis, to the surprise of no one who was keeping track, was selected to be housing scrutiny committee’s new chair.