Election Daily: Stepping aside

39 days to go

GREEN NEW DEALS

IT’S largely forgotten now but back in 2017 Labour was so concerned about losing their seat in Hampstead and Kilburn to the Conservatives that Tulip Siddiq visited a Green Party meeting to discuss common ground and the possibility of them standing aside. That can’t have been much fun, especially as a majority of Green members did not like the idea and John Mansouk was put up as a candidate, collecting 742 votes. Ms Siddiq, as we soon discovered, did not need an official agreement in the end, winning by more than 15,000 votes. At the same election, Sian Berry, now the co-leader of the party, lost her deposit in Holborn and St Pancras. Her mayoral campaign next year is likely to prove more productive, with potentially less tactical voting. It might not be surprising though that Ms Siddiq is not reaching out to the party this time.

In other areas a ‘remain alliance’ has already led to some stepping aside ahead of the December 12 election. The Liberal Democrats have announced they will not stand in the Isle of Wight where the Greens hope to win another seat in parliament. Meanwhile, in the Calder Valley, the Greens will not stand in a constituency where Labour is targeting the Tories. If everybody who had voted Green there last time had voted Labour, then the West Yorkshire constituency would have had a Labour MP rather than a Conservative one.

Labour’s Josh Fenton-Glynn, who was 609 votes short in Calder Valley two years ago, is the candidate again. Those with long memories in Camden will know Mr Fenton-Glynn as a former branch secretary of the Labour Party in Kentish Town. He also had a writing credit – alongside Tom Copley, now a London Assembly member – for the Obama-inspired campaign line: ‘Yes We Ken’ in support of Ken Livingstone’s campaign to get re-elected as Mayor in 2012.

“The Green Party in the Calder Valley today announces that it will be recommending a vote for the Labour Party Candidate, Josh Fenton Glynn, in the next general election,” the Greens said in a statement. “We call on all the people of Calder Valley to support our opposition to a hard Brexit and increasing austerity.”

LAURA’S NEW JUMPERS

IF you’re persevering with Brexitcast, then you’ll have learned that the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg has invested in new jumpers to cover a cold months general election. More than enough excuse for Kirsten de Keyser, the Green Party candidate in Holborn and St Pancras, to ask everybody again: Do you really need more stuff?

She clearly didn’t get the climate emergency memo about,” she tweets. “Buying new is so last century. Head down to a re-use shop up and pick up some cool retro.”

CONSERVATIVES->BREXIT PARTY

WILL they? Won’t they? When will we know how many Brexit Party candidates will be put up for election on December 12? Hampstead and Kilburn will not be a priority, of course, where Brexiteers will largely be encouraged to support Johnny Luk, the Conservative candidate. Cyrus Parvin, who had been due to stand for the Conservatives in last year’s Camden Council elections, has however been lined up to stand for The Brexit Party in Westminster North against Labour’s Karen Buck. Remember: another former Camden Tory, George Lee, is in that race, now standing as a Liberal Democrat.

Other now-ex local Tories are also said to be ready to emerge as Brexit Party candidates, including Simon Marcus who was on the ballot paper representing Nigel Farage’s party at the European elections, and former council election candidates who were not elected and have since lost faith in the local party.

ROAD TRIP

BACK to Bassetlaw, where former councillor Sally Gimson’s big chance to become an MP is live. At the weekend, she was waving around her Jeremy Corbyn placards again with the locals… Hang on, are they locals? As her picture shows, a few familiar faces from the Holborn and St Pancras CLP made the 160 mile journey to help out on the campaign, including Sagal Abdi-Wali, who wants to be the party’s London Assembly candidate in Barnet and Camden, and Countdown genius James Slater. Ms Gimson has toured the country on behalf of other people’s campaigns over the years – see WHERE’S SALLY? – so will feel a little road trip help is more than deserved.

MOTHER’S DAY

THOSE guessing game bookmakers actually have the Conservatives as the favourites to win in Bassetlaw, despite it being a Labour-held seat. The bookies this weekend also trimmed the odds on Liberal Democrat candidate Matt Sanders to cause a surprise in Hampstead and Kilburn, pegging him now as the second favourite at 7/2. He also had some loving help from a familiar face on the campaign trail this weekend: his mother showed up for a bit of leafleting.

DOMINO EFFECT

WESTMINSTER councillors Timothy Barnes and Antonia Cox missed out on being selected in Tory-held Two Cities last night as the council’s leader Nickie Aiken was chosen to defend the seat left vacant by Mark Field’s decision to step down. A little aside from the annals, Ms Aiken is the only local politician so far to complain  that one of my meeting photos was unfairly unflattering  – or unsanctioned – when we ran it in the West End Extra paper. Of course if Ms Aiken was to reach the Commons, it would open up a council leadership race in the City of Westminster. Now a cabinet member, and after showing his ambition for higher office, could Mr Barnes be tempted?

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