Deselected: First Kurdish woman to become a councillor in Islington

EVERY sitting Labour councillor in Camden who wants to stand again at May’s council elections has so far avoided a members vote on their candidacy. The new autos system essentially allows them to sail onto the ballot paper without too much fuss.

A new system introduced by the party across the country, the autos mean each ward has an initial ballot on whether the incumbents should be automatically reselected. Despite all the plot and rumour that decorates local politics, most card-carriers just want a quiet life and are unlikely to vote for ambush or revolution, and they haven’t. We’ve said before on these pages that the constant stream of auto-reselections we’ve seen in Camden meant if anybody hadn’t been afforded this free pass from the old bearpit of selection meetings,  then it would feel doubly awkward to be the only one who got pulled up. So far, everybody has been spared such a trial.

The convivial after-yous have not been extended to neighbouring Islington, however. There, sitting Labour councillor Aysegul Erdogan (pictured above with council leader Richard Watts) was deselected in the Highbury East war last Tuesday. In doing so, they were removing the first Kurdish woman to be elected in Islington from the council chamber, denying her the chance to try and defend her seat at next May’s boroughwide polls. Unsurprisingly perhaps, you don’t have to go too far to find somebody who thinks this is a bit raw, particularly from a party which says so loudly that it is championing BAME candidates.

Then on Thursday night, Cllr Erdogan – one of nine Labour councillors who put their head over the parapet and signed a letter of support for Jeremy Corbyn when he faced a leadership challenge last year – put her name forward to stand in St Peter’s but was again overlooked. There had been a natural vacancy caused by Gary Doolan’s resignation but Vivien Cutler was selected to fill the gap.

5 Comments on Deselected: First Kurdish woman to become a councillor in Islington

  1. Just want to clarify your description of the automatic reselection system (as Camden LCF chair); at shortlisting wards with sitting cllrs who are standing again had to vote for each one individually, not en bloc. So there was an active decision by each ward to endorse each individual cllr in a vote; just at an earlier stage of the process than in previous years. More widely, as other incumbent elected representatives get a trigger ballot under Labour’s rules (MPs, GLA members etc) it seems only fair that cllrs get equal treatment under this new rule, introduced since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. They’re the grassroots face of the Labour Party, after all…

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  2. Why did this woman face a deselection? Plenty of our local Cllrs deserve deselection but got away with it.

    Ruth.

    ________________________________

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  3. What’s fair about the way the Camden LCF was selected? Hence what’s fair about the way councillor candidates were selected by Camden LCF for the candidate panel? Where were the grassroots? After all…

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  4. Mike Katz says Cllrs are the grass roots representatives of our party. He has done his damnedest to prevent it. I wish it were true: about one in ten are grass roots! But then that’s ideal for the right wing of the party: saying they’re only wanting to work for good, but really working for themselves. No wonder so many people are against voting at all. As long as Holborn St Pancras Constituency right wingers tighten their stranglehold on the mechanisms of power there will never be any change. Its the perfect way to keep the status quo in the Borough Homeless people will continue to have their tents confiscated, more railings will be erected around Day Centres where they huddle for protection from the cold at night, to prevent them sheltering there. And the Labour Party will continue to be called Tory Light! Carry on Mike, your days are numbered. Power to your elbows the Homeless Solidarity Group.

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  5. Could it be that local democracy has been subverted bit by bit over the past decade? Keep the local electorate away from getting in the way of political careers? Keep local electorate away from obstructing lucrative property developments? It starts at the council elections. The dross and incompetence rises and goes right to the top.

    What a tragedy and what a disaster for London and its people.

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