Haringey Labour steps up the fight against HDV

The wards in both constituency Labour Parties in the London Borough of Haringey, Hornsey & Wood Green and Tottenham have selected their candidates for next May’s local council elections. The results are a dramatic turn round – a defeat for the existing council leadership and a victory for the left, writes Susan Moore.

The current Council leadership has been told they have no mandate for the HDV. It would be a scandal (and financially irresponsible) if they do anything to commit to the scheme before May. But there are still 5 months to go and it will be vital to continue to build the campaign to stop them and finally put paid to the HDV.

The central question dominating politics in the borough over recent months has been whether the existing council leadership would be able to drive through its so –called ‘redevelopment’ scheme, the Haringey Development Vehicle –  in reality a hand-over of most of its property to a private company in the teeth of massive opposition.(See here for more about the campaign).

The opposition is broad – including many local trade unions and trade unionists, housing campaigners and left activists. But the local Labour parties have also been absolutely central to the campaign. Both local parties and both local MPs, Catherine West and David Lammy opposed the scheme and said so vociferously. But Council leader Claire Kober still had a majority on Labour Group – and therefore in Council to press ahead.

Given that all seats in the constituency are up for reelection in May , this crucial issue was inevitably the focus of discussions around the selection/reselection of candidates to fight those seats.

45 of those selected oppose the HDV while only 12 support the joint venture with Lendlease. The outcome has shifted the balance heavily against the HDV and, as the Liberal Democrats also oppose the proposals, will mean a majority against the HDV on the Council after next May.

What happened? (1)

8 November

4 wards shortlisted candidates. Council Leader Claire Kober was reselected as a candidate for Seven Sisters ward alongside another pro-HDV vouncillor. After the meeting, following concerns from members and on social media (see here ), the process has been referred by the local Tottenham Party’s Executive Committee to the Labour Party NEC for investigation. In two wards (Woodside and Tottenham Hale)  some seats currently held by councillors in favour of the HDV were opened up to allow new candidates to contest the candidacies. Anti-HDV members will be contesting these selections. In Northumberland Park all three sitting Councillors were reselected (2 pro-HDV, 1 Anti-HDV).

12 November

Anti-HDV campaigner Ruth Gordon defeated Labour Chief Whip Lorna Reith (who voted for the HDV) in selection for Labour Council Candidates for Tottenham Hale Ward along with two sitting councillors who have voted against the HDV. In Seven Sisters the pro-HDV candidate was selected for a vacant seat.

13 November

Two more anti-HDV candidates Lucia das Neves & Mark Blake were selected in Woodside Ward to replace two pro-HDV councillors

15 November

5 wards deciding whether to keep existing Councillors or reselect. Noel Park decided 2 Councillors would face a reselection contest, including Alan Strickland (Cabinet Member for Housing & Regeneration – Chief supporter of the HDV and Lendlease) who has subsequently withdrawn from the selection process; and one, Peray Ahmet who abstained in Cabinet and is believed to have turned against the HDV was reselected. In Bruce Grove 2 opponents of the HDV were reselected and an exclusively anti-HDV shortlist chosen for the vacancy. West Green decided its 2 pro-HDV councillors must face reselection, the other place is vacant. InTottenham Green 2 Anti-HDV Councillors reselected & one pro-HDV Councillor stood down creating a vacancy. White Hart Lane reselected its 3 Anti-HDV councillors. A very good night for StopHDV!

20 November

Three wards are selecting candidates tonight. In Noel Park pro- HDV Cllrs Strickland & Mann withdrew their candidacies (see here) and have been replaced with anti-HDV candidates. Another Anti-HDV candidate was selected in Tottenham Green. In West Green 3 Anti-HDV candidates were selected to replace 3 sitting Pro-HDV Councillors. All six places up tonight (currently held by pro-HDV Councillors) taken by Anti-HDV candidates. A clean sweep!

21 November

Anti-HDV candidate Matt White selected in Bruce Grove to fill vacancy created by Cllr Stuart MacNamara (also anti-HDV) withdrawing.

22 November

Tonight 5 wards decide whether their councillors should face selection contests. In Harringay 2 sitting Anti-HDV Councillors  have been reselected, one vacancy. In St Ann’s Noah Tucker (Anti-HDV) reselected, Barbara Blake (Pro-HDV) must face a selection meeting, one vacancy. In Bounds Green 1 pro-HDV stood down, other two (both pro) must face reselection. In Stroud Green Anti-HDV councillor reselected (safe), 2 pro_HDV councillors triggered to go to selection meeting. In Hornsey, Cllr Adam Jogee (now converted to anti-HDV) reselected, Elin Weston (Shadow HDV Board member, pro-HDV) reselected, 1 pro-HDV triggered for selection meeting. So all 5 Anti-HDV councillors safe! And all pro-HDV except Elin Weston are up for deselection! Pity about Weston, but otherwise a very good evening.

27 November

Tonight in St Ann’s ward 2 anti-HDV candidates, Julie Davies and Mike Hakata were selected as candidates to replace sitting pro-HDV councillors Barbara Blake and Ali Gul Ozbek. And in Hornsey Dana Carlin (anti-HDV) was chosen as candidate over sitting councillor Jennifer Mann (pro-HDV) by 71 votes to 48. That is a tipping point. Provided the candidates adhere to their statements, there will now definitely be a majority against the HDV among Labour candidates for the Council in May 2018!

28 November

Tonight 1 anti-HDV candidate selected in Harringay Ward (Sarah Cave); and 2 more (Daniel Stone & Eldridge Culverwell) in Stroud Green. In Bounds Green three Anti-HDV candidates were selected to replace sitting pro-HDV councillors. A clean sweep tonight. The current Council leadership are now a lame-duck administration with no mandate to progress the HDV.

29 November

The remaining Wards are Alexandra, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Fortis green and Highgate. In Alexandra LizMcShane (anti-HDV) was reselected & James Patterson (pro-HDV) stood down creating a vacancy. In Crouch End all three pro-HDV councillors were triggered to face a selection meeting next week. All the other seats in these 5 wards are either vacant (because the councillor has now been selected for another ward further East) or held currently by Liberal Democrats, so there will be selections in all of them next week. One hold on the night.

3 December

In Crouch End the three sitting pro_HDV Councillors stood down, 3 Anti-HDV candidates were selected in their place. In Alexandra Ward 2 anti-HDV candidates were selected to join one anti-HDV Councillor already selected, one to replace a pro-HDV councillor, one seat in this ward is currently held by the Liberal Democrats who oppose the HDV.

5 December

3 anti-HDV candidates were selected in Fortis Green. One of these replaces a sitting Labour Councillor who opposes the HDV who has been selected in another ward. The other two seats are currently held by the Liberal Democrats, who oppose the HDV.

6 December

In Muswell Hill one clearly anti-HDV candidate was selected + two the campaign had identified as pro-HDV (although in their speeches they appeared to have conceded it is dead), the seat currently has 1 anti-HDV Councillor (now selected in a safer ward) and 2 Liberal Democrats. In Highgate, the final ward, Highgate (where all three seats are currently held by Liberal Democrats, 3 pro-HDV Labour candidates were selected.

Dramatic Change

At the start of this process there were 29 Labour Councillors for the HDV and 21 against – that has shifted dramatically to only 12 for and 45 against. As the Liberal Democrats also oppose the HDV, the incoming Council after May 2018 will almost certainly no longer support the Joint Venture with Lendlease. Now we have to be prepared to stop the current Cabinet from signing the scheme before May. If they did it would be an outrage as they clearly have no mandate to do so.

Final Total 

So far selected (estimate based on past voting record and statements):

Labour candidates who support the HDV:  12

Labour candidates who oppose the HDV:  45

(1) This chronology is taken from the Stop HDV website

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