Labour AGM: Ranjit’s run for cabinet

IF there is anything to shake a sleeping blog to attention, it’s the frills and spills of the Labour group’s annual general meeting, and details of runners and riders eager for an upgrade from the back benches to Camden’s cabinet next month.

Today, members learned that the current cabinet all want to stay in the executive for another year – the so-called ‘bed blockers’ if you listened to the grumbles in some of the spikier corners of the council chamber –  but to do so they will have to fend off a challenge. Two of the new left-wingers elected to the Town Hall for the first time last year have applied: Ranjit Singh from the Cantelowes ward and Simon Pearson, one of the Labour team who unseated the Conservatives in Swiss Cottage last May, pictured below.

Meanwhile, Samata Khatoon is having another run at making the cabinet. You can go back to 2014 to trace Cllr Khatoon’s ongoing attempts to get promoted to the top table, but her loyalty to previous leader Sarah Hayward never translated into securing a post previously. Watch the back door: while she is to compete for a place on the current cabinet, Cllr Larraine Revah is challenging her for the role of deputy whip, according to papers circulating today.

Sabrina Francis, below, has had to wait after missing out to Maryam Eslamdoust last year, but will move into the deputy mayor role.

Another thing to look out for later: Labour has resolved to set up deputy cabinet positions, but these will be appointed by leader Georgia Gould rather than via election, leading to warnings of possible patronage and reward system. Other concerns mentioned, privately at least, include the view that it could shallow the pool of backbenchers genuinely scrutinising policy. The new initiative, nonetheless, has been approved by the group without a loud rebellion.

The Labour chairs of scrutiny committees will stand unopposed. As will Cllr Gould in her position as leader; her challenge remains keeping a giant-sized council group happy by making sure everybody who wants it, has something meaningful to do.

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