Saturday, November 04, 2023

Labour names short list of two London politicians for troubled Leicester East seat

Leicester East has not been lucky in its choice of Labour MPs, as the disgraced Keith Vaz gave way to the disgraced Claudia Webbe.

Now, reports the Leicester Mercury, the party has named a short list of two from which its candidate at the next election.

The two are Rajesh Agrawal, who is is the deputy mayor of London for business under Sadiq Khan, and Rishi Madlani, a Camden councillor who claims strong links to Leicester.

The Conservatives have been gaining ground in local elections in this part of the city, which means that the seat is less safe for Labour than it looks on paper. And that means the question of whether Vaz, Webbe or both of them will stand as an Independent at the next election really matters.

Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester's elected mayor, was quoted in the Guardian the other day as saying he expected both to stand against the official Labour candidate:

"We could well have two disgraced former Labour party candidates standing in the seat. People are saying that this is a real possibility and it might split the vote and let the Tories in. We as a party need to have a good and credible candidate in place as soon as possible,” he said.

"Keith has been a cancer in the political body of Leicester for decades and like many others in the Labour party in the city I am relieved that the party has realised and has had the courage to cut him out.

"It has been obvious for months that he is planning to put himself up as an independent candidate at the next general election. Although he lives in Stanmore, he has had himself installed as the so-called honorary president [of the CLP] and has continued to exercise absolute control over the party in that part of the city."

Questioned by the Mercury, Vaz talked about standing as mayor of Leicester after Soulsby retires, but made it sound like a dig at him.

And Webbe left the door to standing as an Independent so wide open - "I will never abandon my home community and constituency of Leicester East" - that it makes you shiver in the draught.

1 comment:

Neil Hickman said...

Starmer: “Thank goodness we don’t have Nasty Liberal PR. Wouldn’t want to lose the democratic glory of the split vote, would we?”