Election daily: No questions please

6 days to go…


A CROWD-PLEASING turn by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner sent Labour activists for their afternoon canvass in Highgate happier than the rain should’ve allowed. She pulled all the right levers in a mini-speech to the faithful and some came away understanding why she is the second favourite with a lot of bookmakers to one day follow Jeremy Corbyn as leader, although such thoughts were politely whispered beyond earshot of anybody else among the gathering who might also fancy such a promotion. She told these campaigners that sticking to Labour’s ‘socialist principles’ were just as important as winning votes.

Given the upbeat nature of the event for the Labour campaign, however, it seemed odd that Ms Rayner’s office had implemented a ‘no press’ rule, with the offer of quotes being supplied afterwards. Members were actively told not to let journalists know she was coming. I just happened to be passing when I got these photos etc… Such control seemed a bit Mariah Carey, and it clashed with the down-to-earth, frankness of Ms Rayner’s speech to members, which had otherwise been her selling point. You can’t be worried about the little ‘ol Camden New Journal if you want to reach Downing Street,


YOU may think student houses are all about play stations, pizza boxes and last minute revision, but no. In one particular flat in Iverson Road, West Hampstead, you’ll find the hot topic of Camden council elections are discussed every evening, possibly, as two of the flatmates are actually standing as candidates in them. On rival sides. While James Slater – the youngest ever contender Labour has ever fielded at 19 – is persevering with his quest for Labour in Hampstead. On the other couch is Tom Ewins, a Conservative candidate in Haverstock.


ENGLISH Heritage are to erect a blue plaque at the famous Isokon building in Hampstead, honouring designers Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, but need planning consent from Camden Council first. It may be one of the least controversial applications in at the Town Hall but officers have had to be alert: One letter of support, casually published on the council’s website earlier this week, has been pulled from public view. It had begun by explaining that this was an important honour for a Jewish emigre like Breuer, but developed into an attack on the ‘anti-semitism in the Camden Labour Party’. Labour canvassers suggest the issue is coming up much more on the doorstep too, compared with last year’s general election campaign, with occasional reports of slammed doors.


AFTER my little moan yesterday about how we don’t hear a peep from some of the election candidates or party supporters during the off-season but they suddenly want a letter published in the CNJ a week before the election, I should point you in the direction of HERE, where there are more letters that could not fit into the printed edition.


MORE from Glenys Roberts, the deselected Conservative councillor over the way in Westminster. In a more expansive interview with the Westminster Extra– out today – she said confirms she will not vote for the party: “I have no idea why I was deselected and no one will tell me. I received a routine letter which was a pretty shoddy way to treat someone after nearly 20 years in the job. Not a phone call, not a meeting, still less a word of thanks even from people I thought were friends, so I have no idea what’s going on.”

She adds: “While not a single person in the council or the Tory Party has contacted me, many residents have written and some have said they are going to vote Labour because of what has ­happened. So a bit of an own goal, you might think, deselecting a ­councillor with huge experience and a local following just before a difficult election.”


WHICH winning election candidate will be the top-scoring councillor in the entire field? Roger Robinson claimed the honour in 2014 with a whopper, 2,511 votes in St Pancras and Somers Town. Maybe Cllr Robinson will do it again next week. In 2002, Mike Greene, a Conservative in Hampstead Town ward, collected the most votes individually, getting 1,316 crosses. Flick Rea was second. It’s interesting to look back at their winning figures, as these days there will be a few candidates who are likely to break through the 2k mark next week.

Mr Greene later moved back to Bournemouth where he very nearly became an MP. He still pops up in Hampstead every now and then, and he makes a beeline for Camden figures when away at conference time.


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