Labour up line up new candidates for Town Hall elections
Some members walk out of selection meeting
Tuesday, 11th January — By Richard Osley
New candidates Nina de Ayala Parker, James Slater and Anna Burrage
CAMDEN’S Labour Party has lined up candidates for some of the new council wards ahead of May’s boroughwide elections.
While a row has continued over a block on six existing councillors from standing again, the Town Hall’s ruling party has got on with the process of deciding who stands in which ward from an approved list.
Residents across the borough will get the chance to decide who runs the council during the first week of May, although the map has been altered with some new political territories being used this time around.
In South Hampstead – the closest ward to what is now Swiss Cottage – Nina de Ayala Parker, Izzy Lenga and Will Prince have been selected.
At the decision meeting on Sunday, some members are understood to have walked out in protest at the refusal to allow Councillor Leo Cassarani to put himself up for re-selection.
He spoke last month about his disappointment at being told he is unwanted despite being part of Labour team that wrested the ward from the Conservatives at the last elections – for the first time in 20 years. His ward colleagues, Simon Pearson and Nayra Bello O’Shanahan, are stepping down.
Cllr Cassarani had been punished for asking for more scrutiny of the planned redevelopment of land in Camley Street, King’s Cross. Supporters read out a statement at the private selection meeting before leaving and not taking part in the voting.
The process has seen a record number of existing councillors being barred from defending their seats by their own party, and has been characterised by critics as a ‘purge of the left’.
James Slater with former Countdown hosts Rachel Riley and Nick Hewer
Meanwhile, candidates have been selected in the new Kentish Town North and Primrose Hill wards.
James Slater, a former ‘octochamp’ brainbox on the quiz show Countdown, and former teacher Sylvia McNamara will stand for the party in Kentish Town North.
“I love doorknocking to speak to residents and I’m always disappointed if no-one is at home,” said Ms McNamara.
“I am a problem-solver by nature, and have good listening skills.”
Mr Slater added: “Since moving to Camden, I’ve lived in Bloomsbury, West Hampstead, Dartmouth Park, and Kentish Town – north, south, east, and west – although not in that order. So I’ve had a chance to see the different types of issues affecting the borough.”
The existing Kentish Town councillors are expected to be reselected in the new Kentish Town South,
Primrose Hill, which has been split from Camden Town in the redrawn map, will see Ajok Athian, Anna Burrage and Matt Cooper on the ballot paper for Labour.
In Highgate, where Labour currently shares a split ward with the Greens – one of the more contested areas of the borough – Councillor Anna Wright, Camron Aref-Adib and Panny Antoniou will be the party’s candidates.
Follow the New Journal’s Vote 2022 coverage on the website and in print each Thursday in the run up to the elections on May 5.