Leader selects: Who wants a cabinet promotion?

MARCH 10, the last day this website had something new. It seems a long time ago. To think, on that date, I could write a piece about the Labour Party’s new AGM rules and in our little political world in Camden it seemed like quite a big development.

A couple of weeks later, there was no time for blogging. There were no council meetings. No coffee meetings or chit-chatty lunches. No gossip in the pubs. And WhatsApp became better used for helping people get the services they needed – and still need – than tipping winks about council policy and internal comings and goings.

The pandemic had changed everything. I’ve been proud of how the CNJ responded – and is responding. In years to come, whether newspapers still exist in printed form or not, people will hopefully look back and see that we were among those that tried our hardest to help.  It’s been the hardest time of all our lives.

They will probably not look back and say ‘remember that blog about who was going for cabinet positions’. It’s interesting nonetheless that Labour councillors are once again looking ahead to their postponed agm and mulling over what the top table may look like afterwards. The new ‘leader selects’ system means council leader Georgia Gould makes the final call, rather than the holding of a group vote.

She has only one natural vacancy to fill, however: you should have seen by now that culture chief Jonathan Simpson is stepping down. Cllr Gould could, of course, crack some eggs and forcefully engineer other openings, but there are pitfalls by removing any of the others.

At the same time, however, even some supporters of the new method will privately tell you that if the group goes through the ‘leader selects’ process and just ends up with the same people in the power positions, then it wouldn’t be the greatest advert for the format. It could make the familiar idea of working your way up to more responsibility through hard work and long nights feel like fantasy.

So what will happen? After much gossip, the new applicants from the backbenches hoping to break into the inner circle have been revealed as Jenny Mulholland, Simon Pearson, Marcus Boyland and Anna Wright. Cllr Gould has some space to think about their pitches as, after returning from a short holiday in France, she must quarantine for two weeks. One or two are going to need to be let down gently, though.


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