24 Hours in Tulse Hill
*Tuesday 25th, 17:00 update*
Ok, for legal reasons, I’m afraid comments have had to be closed on this post. I’ve got the full story, but sadly I’m not in a position to be able to tell it. Not yet, anyway.
Original blog post…
A week Two and a bit weeks are a long time in local politics. It’s a timeframe that has seen @LambethLabour’s Toren Smith be re-elected in his Tulse Hill ward, and then before the first full council meeting of the new administration, Toren has triggered a by-election.
The @lambeth_council website simply states:
“There is a vacancy for a Councillor in Tulse Hill ward that will be filled at a by-election.”
No reason (as yet) for Toren not taking up his council chamber seat, but with the cancellation of his twitter @tulsehill account, it looks like Toren is taking a step back from local politics in the borough.
Here’s hoping that all is fine health wise with the (ex) good Councillor.
Timing aside, I think this is rather a shame. Toren is very affable character, and represented his ward well (um, last administration, *not* the eighteen days of office that he has lasted this time round.)
He balanced a very demanding job on the Planning Committee with that of being a decent ward councillor. Sure, he was part of the Nu Labour clique in Lambeth politics, but he put forward this image with great humour, often seen carrying a copy of the FT into the council chamber.
When I last spoke with Toren at the election night count, he asked me how the overall picture was looking. I jested that the borough was about to turn blue. He didn’t flinch.
On seeing the empty public gallery during the setting of the last budget, Toren’s observation that “the electorate are happy with the Labour party in Lambeth” has proven to be true, given the election results.
And so what now for the fine people of Tulse Hill? An unwelcome by-election is confirmed by the @lambeth_council website, probably taking place on July 1st. Just when you thought that all the political posturing and behind the scenes stirring from the party agents was over for another four years, we have to go through the whole farce yet again.
Tulse Hill is ultra safe territory for Nu Labour in the borough. With 1,396 votes separating Toren’s third place showing and the fourth placed @LambethLibDems candidate, don’t expect any upset.
Don’t expect a 59% electorate turn out, either.
As for candidates – I’d wager that @LambethLabour’s Ruth Ling would emerge as a popular choice. Losing her seat to the Tories in her Clap’ham Common ward left a lot of traditional supporters within the local party feeling that Ruth was a victim of the affluent SW4 geography.
Karim Palant could even be an outsider for @LambethLabour, having seemingly missed out on becoming an Oval councillor, on account of the A-Z voting pattern from the electorate in my ward.
So yeah – cheers Toren, and ta ta. Premature, and politically intriguing…
*Monday 24th, 22:00 update*
It would seem that Toren has stepped down for “personal reasons,” whatever they may be. Don’t rule out the possibility of Toren representing once again the good people of Tulse Hill soon.
*sooner than you think…*
To lose one @LambethLabobour councillor eighteen days after being elected would be unfortunate, but to lose two?
I’m keeping stum…
*Tuesday 25th, 07:00 update*
Top search on m’blog overnight:
‘Toren, Smith, Lambeth, Labour, police, investigation.’