FORMER Camden councillor Mike Katz has not given up on making it to the Commons, announcing this week that he wants another crack at the see-saw constituency Hendon; lost carelessly, some say, by Labour eight years ago.
There had actually been a moment on general election night last year where Labour campaigners at the Camden constituencies count, safe as they were with their own wins incoming, seemed more interested in how things were panning out in Barnet. Whispers were abound that Mr Katz might take the seat off the Tories.
It was not to be, but when all the votes had been counted he had crunched the Conservative majority held by Matthew Offord down from 3,724 down to just over 1k. Given Labour canvassers had been told that anywhere in that part of town was a non-starter due to the party’s anti-semitism strife – it’s been going on that long – Mr Katz was congratulated on going so close.
It’s perhaps unsurprising then that he feels he has unfinished business in Hendon and must believe that he can cut through again, even with the heightened tensions over Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community seen in recent days, weeks and months.
As even sitting Labour MPs are not said to be safe in their seats with mandatory reselection rule changes being murmured about, Team Katz will be prepared for a battle ahead, however. He is hardly a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s fanclub and candidates from the trade unions and Momentum are expected to join a selection contest and gather support. His supporters were speedily broadcasting their support after he confirmed his intentions yesterday; it’s about getting in some (small m) momentum ahead of hustings that have been scheduled for October.
It will be interesting to see who Labour pick. Perhaps we can imagine what the headline story will be if the party turns down a Jewish candidate who ran Mr Offord in this constituency so close last time.