Pinning the Tail on the Political Donkey

It seems that I have been slightly harsh on @janeinlondon / East Hampshire. I shouldn’t have singled out my local @LambethLabour candidate for having parliamentary political ambitions over in East Hampshire, or failing that, looking after the Little People in Lambeth.

A bit of digging around, and it now appears that Jane Edbrooke is not alone within @LambethLabour in looking towards Westminster first, and then the Rotten Borough second.


Forget the previous parlour game of Political Musical Chairs – it now seems that a number of @LambethLabour local Councillors are playing Pin the Tail on the Political Constituency / Ward.

First up we have Councillor Morgan, the democratically elected representative for my nearby Prince’s ward. You may remember how the ward was forced into a by-election, when Councillor Townsend decided to bugger off to Bristol with his £10k allowance.


The good voters of Prince’s ward would do well to remember this when they head to the ballot box on May 6th. So would the good voters over in Orpington, where Councillor Morgan is ‘doing an Edbrooke,’ as it is now known in local political circles.

Yep – that’s right. If at first you don’t succeed, double yer money (and your electable chances) by having the option of either a Westminster seat, or a local Council seat.

Priorities, priorities. It’s a complete sham of democracy, both for constituency and wards alike. The electorate want firm commitments, not a politician that is going to flip loyalties, depending on the size of their majority.

But wait – there’s more…

Looking over the boundaries of my Oval ward, and I note that Neeraj Patil, the current @LambethLabour councillor for Larkhall, is putting himself up once again to represent the fine folk of SW8.

Looking out further still, and I note that the flipping (as in flipping loyalties, natch) Councillor is also putting himself up to become the next MP for the not so nearby Surrey Heath.


Completing the hat trick of current @LambethLabour Councillors who are getting a little too big for their local authority boots is Councillor Sabharwal. The current Ferndale representative has a lively local ward to represent. One can only wonder then how he will find the time to also represent the good folk of North Herefordshire as their next MP.

A recent Freedom of Informaton request revealed that Stephen Morgan attended only 50% of full council meetings in the past political year. I am awaiting details of a further FOI request, asking what level of allowance each Lambeth Councillor has claimed this year.

Given his attendance record, it would be most disappointing to find that Councillor Morgan has troused his full £10,000 annual allowance; a fee of £5,000 would seem more appropriate.

Councillor Patil fares slightly better, having attended six out of the ten full council meetings. Credit where it is due – Councillor Sabharwal has the full set of ten out of ten.

Someone give that man PPC status…

But we’re not finished yet. Not quite ‘doing an Edbrooke,’ but what about the mysterious case of Kingsley Abrams, the current @LambethLabour Councillor for Vassall ward? Kingsley is standing once again under the Nu Labour banner in an attempt to become a local Lambeth politician.

I’m still not sure about the Wimbledon constituency though. It seems neither is Kingsley…

His own personal site was a campaigning shop front, boasting of how Kingsley is the best candidate for the good people of Wimbledon to elect as their next MP. A screenshot of the Vassall Councillor campaigning over in SW19 is published below.

Kingsley Abrams

How very strange then to find that the website has now been pulled, and Councillor Abrams is no longer listed as the Labour PPC for Wimbledon.

Maybe it is simply that Councillor Abrams has more sense than Neil Sabharwal, Neeraj Patil, Stephen Morgan and yes, Jane Edbrooke, in realising that local voters in Lambeth don’t take too kindly to this dual candidacy betrayal.

Political ambition – yes please. Doing an Edbrooke and keeping it quiet to the Little People of Lambeth about how you want to bugger off to Westminster – no thanks.

@LambethLabour has some very fine candidates. The Town Hall is a better place for being represented by these folk.

But once again, @LambethLabour – clarification on all of the above local / national candidates would be appreciated. Any more career politicians to add to my tally chart please?

12 thoughts on “Pinning the Tail on the Political Donkey

  1. Abrams was defeated in Wimbledon for the Labour selection by Andrew Judge, a former Labour leader on Merton council I believe.

    The whole Kingsley Abrams situation is indicative of a wider problem – out of date websites with no indication that they are out of date.

    Given our politicians’ inability to master the web this is likely to grow as a problem after the elections when many are defeated and pack up their offices without adequately decommissioning websites.

    If you look around on the web you will find Kingsley is apparently the candidate for Bermondsey.

    Of course if you look further you will find the local Vassall Labour website – where he is still very much in action having been selected as Labour candidate.

  2. Actually Neeraj Patil is NOT the PPC for Surrey Heath, nor was Kingsley Abrams selected as PPC for Wimbledon.

  3. Cheers for the clarification. It’s all very strange though, @lambethLabour Councillors touting themselves online as PPC, when they haven’t yet been selected.

    Anyway – I still make it three @LambethLabour candidates, standing both in the borough, and with the wider political ambitions of Westminster.

    Anything from other parties?


  4. Good grief – I never saw the full horror of Kingsley’s 2001 website for North Southwark and Bermondsey when it was actually live.

    The Guardian’s site is not up to date. Mat Willey was selected to succeed Neeraj Patil as PPC as February.

    From The Times of India!

    Neeraj Patil quits House seat in UK

    “London-based councillor Dr Neeraj Patil has resigned from his parliamentary seat in Britain.He was selected by the Labour Party to be a prospective parliamentary candidate in September 2007 in the Surrey Heath constituency. Dr Patil is currently serving as a councillor in London. He is a consultant with A and E and a governor of Guys and St Thomas Hospital in Central London. He said in his resignation letter that he was unable to continue as a parliamentary candidate due to his busy work as a consultant with A and E and his family commitments with two young children.

    Dr Patil hails from Gulbarga and was instrumental in setting up a meeting with the founder and promoter of London Eye (giant wheel observatory), David Marks with the Karnataka NRI forum deputy chairman and BJP MLC Ganesh Karnik in London on February 21. The proposal is to set up a similar London Eye in Bangalore.Murray Rowland ,chair of Surrey Heath Labour Party thanked Dr Patil for all the work he had done in his constituency and expressed gratitude for his positive contribution.”

  5. Darren Sanders is *not* standing again as Lib Dem councillor for Clapham Common while standing as PPC for Portsmouth North.

  6. It seems there arent enough candidates to be MPs to go around – all the parties are doing. Caroline Pidgeon for example, Liberal Democrat challenger to Kate Hoey in Vauhxall, is a Lib Dem London Assembly member and has just finished serving as a Lib Dem Councillor in Southwark.

  7. Perhaps this is something that we should be proud of – Lambeth provides a good training ground for our political leaders

  8. @Magnus – the point with Pigeon is that she has been transparent. She is standing down from one role, to take on the challenge of another. Edbrooke, Morgan and Sabharwal are standing as both local councillors, and PPC’s. Plus they have made no effort to declare to either constituent that they have ambitions elsewhere.

    As for being a good training ground – yes, in theory. But once again, one step at a time. Learn on the ground in Lambeth, and then make the move for Westminster separately. Don’t have the soft landing of a Lambeth Council seat, should the electorate decide you aren’t up to the demands of Westminster.

    I feel slightly uneasy about career politicians learning on the job in Lambeth though. This is a deprived borough. People here need real help, and not to be treated as an extra as part of a work experience gig.

  9. Jason,

    Thought I would comment on your own site given our similar discussion on another blog.

    “Given his attendance record, it would be most disappointing to find that Councillor Morgan has troused his full £10,000 annual allowance; a fee of £5,000 would seem more appropriate.”

    On 5 occasions I had other events I had to attend. However Lorna and/or Mark were able to attend and represent the people of Princes Ward in my absence.

    That is why there are 3 councillors, one of us is at the council meeting, another is at a residents meeting and the other is home doing some casework. Are two of us not doing our jobs as we are doing other council stuff and not at an official council meeting you can FOI?

    Should I be paid according to how many offical council meetings I go to rather than how many people I help or local non-council meetings I attend?

    Would be grateful for your views on this as picking just picking an attendance record at full council can never give a true view of what being a councillor is all about and who is doing a good job. I hope you will agree?


  10. @Councillor Morgan

    I can’t agree entirely. It is unfortunate that 50% of your other commitments coincided with full council meetings. These are the bedrock of local democracy, and it is ultimately where our elected representatives are accountable, given the on the record status of the meetings.

    I accept that you have been working hard around the ward. Likewise for Councillor Campbell, who I know has not been well of late.

    It’s all about the local for me. Making a commitment to the people of Lambeth for the next four years, and then repeating this over in Orpington, stikes me as having two different sets of priorities.

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