Beyond Haringey: where else in London is Momentum influence growing?
The Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) and the consequent deselections of many pro-HDV councillors in the borough has dominated headlines in recent months with events commonly seen as a Momentum takeover. Although it is true that no other London boroughs have seen as much turbulence as Haringey, there are other areas where Momentum affiliated candidates have been selected and in some cases as a result of sitting councillors being deselected. In Newham the long-serving elected Mayor, Sir Robin Wales who is known for his generally pragmatic approach to development is facing a new reselection battle with some Labour members claiming he has been in the position for too long. While Sir Robin’s predicament is not so overtly caused by Momentum as Haringey, the group is clearly a factor. With so much attention being focused on Haringey, it is easy to ignore growing Momentum influence in other London boroughs where Labour has a tight stranglehold.
In Redbridge, a by-election in Roding ward (now part of Churchfields ward) held in 2016 was triggered by a Conservative councillor’s resignation resulting in a surprise gain for the Labour candidate, Cllr Lloyd Duddridge who won by 578 votes. Ahead of May 2018, Cllr Duddridge who is considered a moderate and is a Member of the Council’s Planning Committee has been deselected blaming a concerted effort by Momentum to replace him with one of their favoured candidates. The replacement candidate is Syed E Siddiqi, a co-ordinator at Redbridge Momentum.
Southwark has also been subject to some manoeuvrings by Momentum. Moderate Cllr Samantha Jury-Dada who is a Member of the Planning Sub-Committee was elected at a by-election in Faraday ward with 61% of the vote. However, in July she was deselected in favour of Momentum member and campaigner, Jack Buck who will run in May. 300 black and minority ethnic Labour members across England signed an open letter concerned with the nature of Cllr Jury-Dada’s deselection.
In Camden there are some high-profile councillors who are not standing in May including Cllr Sarah Hayward who is the former Leader of the Council, Cllr Sally Gimson who is a former Cabinet Member and Cllr Phil Jones who is a former Cabinet Member for Planning. Cllr Hayward who represents the safe Labour ward of King’s Cross is being replaced by Georgie Robertson who is a Momentum backed candidate. The candidate to replace Cllr Gimson is moderate Maddy Raman whilst Anna Wright has been selected to challenge the Green Party for the seat they hold in Highgate ward. Ranjit Singh who we understand is not affiliated with Momentum is standing in place of Cllr Phil Jones in the safe Labour Cantelowes ward. The new selections in Camden are a mixed bag which reflects the state of the local Labour Party well as no one faction has total dominance.
In Greenwich the most marked development in the borough is that Cllr Ambreen Hisbani who is a Member of the Planning Board Committee is standing down in May. Ivis Williams has replaced Cllr Hisbani in the safe Labour ward of Woolwich Common. There is evidence of Williams’ support for Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell on her social media although it is not obvious whether she is a Momentum backed candidate.
It is clear that the influence of Momentum in Haringey has not been replicated on that scale in other London boroughs. However, the deselections of moderate Labour councillors in Redbridge and Southwark as well as the selected Momentum candidates in boroughs like Camden and Greenwich certainly indicate that we will see some Momentum councillors post May many of whom will sit on Planning Committees and make their vocal opposition to regeneration projects known.
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