A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Leyton & Wanstead

I was quite surprised to see the Telegraph reporting that Labour Party Treasurer/Unite TGWU DGS/spouse of Harriet Harman Jack Dromey "is being lined up to fight a safe Labour seat in London at the next general election".

The paper says he "is "very likely" to be chosen as Labour's candidate for Leyton and Wanstead, according to senior party sources."

I know a bit about Leyton & Wanstead CLP because it's in the patch I represent on Labour's London Regional Board. It's a fiercely independent-minded CLP and won't take kindly to "senior party sources" thinking they can drop one of their own number into the vacancy created by Harry Cohen's retirement, or to any insinuation that the democratic process by which local members pick a candidate is being pre-empted. Nor can it be other than in seats selecting at the very last moment before a General Election.

From what I understand of what's going on, there are several strong local candidates running, notably Leytonstone Councillor Marie Pye, Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing on Waltham Forest Council, a formidable campaigner, and former Parliamentary Officer of the Disability Rights Commission.

I love the bit in the Telegraph article where it says "A senior Labour source said: "Leyton and Wanstead is perfect for Jack. It's in London so he and Harriet wouldn't even need to buy another house."" I would have thought the domestic arrangements of Jack and Harriet will be a fairly low-order priority criterion for Leyton & Wanstead members when picking a candidate.

Anyway, surely Harriet will, in the interests of consistency, be pushing for a safe-ish seat like this to have an All Women Shortlist?


Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Well said, Luke. I was invited to talk to a joint meeting of a couple of branches in the CLP at the end of last month. There were more members there than at my own CLP GC, and we had a very lively discussion about how to re-energise the Party. STLP has been discussing how to discourage parachuting in PPCs. Leyton and Wanstead may have the courage to resist. But what about weaker CLPs? Something else for the NEC to tackle?

10:44 pm, August 16, 2009

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

I agree with you entirely Luke (though I'm almost certain we'd want different candidates to win). I hate this frothy 'chattering classes' coverage of politics, completely by-passing as it does acknowledging even the existence of actual Labour members in an area. Or indeed that free-thinking people live in a part of London such chin-strokers clearly never go anywhere near.

12:42 am, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Not backing Jack then, Luke? (-:

10:10 am, August 17, 2009

Blogger Theo Blackwell's blog said...

Not sure what to think of this. The attempt to bounce a name into a seat like this is so clumsy, you'd think someone was trying to provoke a reaction against it! Then again, I have seen cack-handedness like this of late: so it could be real.

In any case, while the party is out there defending the NHS, some just can't resist this kind of politics.

11:40 am, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, when Marie Pye was given an opportunity to stand for Parliament in another seat in the borough (Walthamstow) back in 2007 she came 4th. The winner (Stella Creasy) deserved to win. What was curious is that Marie Pye came behind two other candidates who had no history in the borough. It will be interesting to see if she's any more popular in the south of borough. I should think that her close association with her fellow ward Councillor Mr Clyde Loakes will not go down well with the independent minded members of the CLP who can't stand him. Better Jack Dromey than any associate of Clyde Loakes.

2:05 pm, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here an article from the local paper around there that supports the comment above:


2:10 pm, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Nick Tiratsoo said...

London Borough of Waltham Forest is in a bit of pickle at the moment, because after a long-standing campaign by local residents (including myself), local MPS, and others, it has been revealed that £15.2m of Neighbourhood Renewal Fund expenditure - money which might have transformed the borough's poorest wards - appears to have largely evaporated in a miasma of mismanagement and waste.

To give a flavour of what has been happening, when PricewaterhouseCoopers recently forensically analysed 105 NRF projects, it discovered that over three-quarters had ‘no logically structured files’, 60 were missing signed contracts, all but a handful had been procured in contravention of Council rules, half showed no sign of being monitored, and 102 showed no sign of being audited.

To compound matters further, the Counci's initial reaction when this situation was exposed was to rush to commission a series of expensive but poorly targetted and flawed inquiries, which largely wasted a further large sum - probably as much as £200,000-£250,000.

Now, the incoming chief executive has set up a further but this time wholly independent investigation, which is being chaired by Peter Rogers (chief exec. of the LDA). and is due to report in the next few weeks.

The story has been much covered in the Waltham Forest Guardian, for example here
and here http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/search/3782149.WALTHAM_FOREST__Confusion_

Which is really a long way round of saying that should any of the inner core of the Cabinet who are identified with this mess try to stand again locally, their precise role in what has transpired may well come back to haunt them.

2:54 pm, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Luke ... remind me again ... what, in 2009, is a "safe" Labour seat?

3:41 pm, August 17, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

This is just newspapers behaving mischeviously.

Luke, surely as a staunch supporter of the union link, you would welcome such a senior union man entering parliament. Or does your rather pathetic loathing of Harriet - who is worth 50 of the ever more useless and risible loser that is Brown - outweigh your commitment to having sensible union representation in the Commons?

4:47 pm, August 17, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


I'm not against Jack or any other senior party or trade union figure becoming a Labour PPC by taking on all comers in a fair selection process and getting the most votes from members. The one time I met Jack I really liked him, and I supported him when he ran for TGWU General Secretary.

What I am against is:
- the insinuation that some "higher power" can gift seats to approved or famous candidates when in fact they should and do have to go through the same process as everyone
- political mainipulation of the decisions around which seats are All Women Shortlists and which are not
- ignorant articles in Tory papers that focus on the high politics of the Westminster Village and ignore the real situation at the grassroots

I suspect that as with previous rumours connecting him to Streatham and Wolverhampton NE, Jack won't run in Leyton because by this stage most local activists will already have committed to other candidates.

7:28 pm, August 17, 2009

Anonymous ben jones said...

Is that Marie "porky" Pye? The fatty who can't stop telling lies!

As for Harpee's hubby being parachuted in, ffs, wtf is going on?

I hope she is booted out of Parliament and he never gets a seat.

8:49 pm, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Carol Kaplin said...

Beware Harriet Harman Jack Dromey are Nu Labour Elite and super rich challenge them at your peril

11:21 pm, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No all women shorlist when it doesn't suit Harman,there's a surprise.
Reassuring to know that the New Labour aristocracy is alive and well.I'm sure they will be re-doubling their efforts to parachute Dromey in as they will still be smarting from their failed attempt with little Georgie in Erith.

Angry voter

11:45 pm, August 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if she's any more popular in the south of borough.

Low and best rates on Payday Loans

10:43 am, August 18, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

I would agree with you on that one, Luke, but I would see this as typical of newspaper speculation.

5:51 pm, August 18, 2009


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