Henry Newman and the last seat in the house

AFTER being caught by surprise by Labour’s performance in London at the general election, the black humour among Camden’s Conservatives since June has occasionally been that there’s no safe council seat left for the party. It should be said that a lot of Camden’s Labour Party members were caught by surprise too, some of them having tried to sideline leader Jeremy Corbyn from the campaign before voting day, although we probably don’t need to reheat that one again…

The analysis of how people had voted on a ward by ward basis did not make happy reading for the Tories. The most pessimistic privately fear they could be driven back into just two or three wards at next May’s council elections. This is why all eyes are on Frognal, and the vacancy opened up by the feeling mugged off new challenge seeking Siobhan Baillie’s decision to step down from the Town Hall.

It’s the safest seat in the borough for the Conservatives. Now it’s not for me to speculate on whether anybody considered a chicken run dash from a less secure ward, others have done that. And given future MP Henry Newman, the ‘king of the belfies’, is not a serving councillor, it’s probably not fair to use that term for the emerging news that he is looking to upgrade his candidacy in the Labour/Green ward of Highgate – where he has diligently documented the rise of fly-tipping – to blue central, Frognal.

The tipsters say he is likely to be confirmed as the final candidate at a meeting next week, finalising an all-male slate alongside Councillor Gio Spinella and new face Andrew Parkinson. Mr Newman is said to have won a preliminary vote of members in the ward which acts as a clear steer to the selection board meeting next week.

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