Cllr Matthew Bennett has been selected to stand as a Labour candidates for Gipsy Hill in the Lambeth Council elections in May 2018. Bennett is the current Cabinet member for Housing. He has been leading the controversial estate regeneration policy.
The endorsement of Bennett by his local ward branch is significant. It shows that there is local party support for the policy of estate regeneration. This is despite attempts by Momentum to offer an alternative candidate and policy.
Bennett’s selection is also significant as it keeps one of the main Progress players in the loop. This could be crucial should Cllr Lib Peck – or the electorate – decide that a new Leader is needed at the Town Hall.
Bennett was re-selected to stand in 2018 at a Gipsy Hill branch ward meeting on Monday evening. He is joined by Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite – the Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, and Cllr Luke Murphy.
Bennett polled the lowest of the successful candidates. 28 members endorsed him, compared to 34 for Brathwaite, and 30 for Murphy.
— Luke Murphy (@LukeSMurphy) March 6, 2017
A Gipsy Hill Labour ticket of three Progress supporters will mean that the Greens will campaign hard in the ward.
Cllr Luke Murphy limped home in a by-election last summer. He beat the Green candidate Pete Elliott by only 36 votes. The swing to the Green party was an impressive 31%.
The close call last summer was a wake up call for many local Labour party members in the borough. The re-selection of the status quo makes the politics interesting: can the right of the party win in spite of Jeremy Corbyn, or will they win because of Jeremy Corbyn?
If they do indeed win at all…
The endorsement of Bennett means that the Greens will have to think how to pool their resources. Brixton Hill and Herne Hill were the wards where a breakthrough seemed likely.
They will fancy their chances once again at Gipsy Hill, now that the architect of estate regeneration has been selected. The Central Hill estate in the heart of the ward has been lined up by Bennett for estate regeneration.
Elsewhere and similar Labour branch selection meetings are taking place ahead of 2018.
The Herne Hill branch meeting took place last week – despite attempts by some party members to avoid the de-selection of the three sitting Labour Cllr’s
Brixton Buzz understands that Herne Hill Cllr Jim Dickson is now back living in the borough. He is likely to stand, should his ward endorse him.
Over in Ferndale and there is a surprise that all three current Labour Cllr’s have decided to stand down. Cllr Matt Parr deserves praise for the scrutiny he has put forward over the Brixton Arches farce.
Another surprise is Cabinet member Cllr Jack Hopkins not standing in Oval; ditto for the Cat Cllr Alex Bigham [pictured] in Stockwell. With both heavyweights offering bruising contributions in the plot to de-select Kate Hoey MP, don’t be too surprised if one of their names appears on a ballot paper in Vauxhall sometime soon…
Another absentee from the Oval ward endorsement is Cabinet member Cllr Jane Edbrooke [right]. Standing in a ward that campaigned against her original book-ish gyms plans could have been political suicide for the ambition Edbrooke. Brixton Buzz understands that Thornton ward is now a likely location for Edbrooke.
You can read a little more about the Gipsy Hill ward selections via Dave Hill’s new London blog. It is disappointing that Dave chooses to lead with old political battles – an issue that most in the borough have long since moved on from.