Campaigner challenges Hackney wannabe-MPs

Black History Month walk at Hackney Town Hall (2012?) ©

ONE OF the Hackney councillors who failed to win her party’s selection for a prime parliamentary seat has reacted to criticism by saying she is not seeking selection elsewhere.

Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor and a Dalston ward councillor, told Loving Dalston: “I am standing in the local elections in Hackney in 2014 and hope to continue to be part of one of the most successful Labour administrations in the country, one that has transformed the borough.”

Two other councillors, Feryal Demirci and Patrick Vernon, have sought Labour selection to contest a seat in the House of Commons,  prompting a local activist to accuse all three of a lack of interest in Hackney.

Mustafa Korel of Hackney First July 2013 ©
Local support: Korel:

Mustafa Korel, PIC founder of Hackney First, said the way in which the main parties selected candidates for Parliament stifled democracy.

He said: “The problem is that they would have to abandon Hackney, which presents a wider problem to residents, activists and campaigners in the borough – ‘Why should I bother engaging with Sophie, Feryal, Patrick or anyone else who has their sights set on posts outside the borough?’

“There are no contests in Hackney. It would have been great for democracy to add vibrancy to a one-state borough by holding held an open primary for such posts, especially of the type backed by Labour leader Ed Miliband.”

Demirci (Brownswood ward), who lost in Enfield North to former MP Joan Ryan, said: “With the support of local people in Hackney, I hope to continue serving as a councillor in the capital’s most vibrant and exciting borough.”

Hackney councillor Feryal Demirci. Publicity pic 2013
Continuing: Demirci

Linden, a former adviser to Blairite David Blunkett, lost out in her attempt to represent Labour in Hampstead and Kilburn in the next general 2015 election to Tulip Siddiq, a Camden councillor. Education campaigner Fiona Millar, who has close links to ex-PM Tony Blair, was the frontrunner but quit the preselection race. She described Linden as “steely”.

Vernon (Queensbridge) will learn in September whether Brent Central Labour Party wants him as its candidate. His attempt to win Manchester Central last year ended when Labour insider Lucy Powell won.

Vernon, pictured above, at rear, at Hackney Town Hall, during 2012’s Black History Month walk, said: “As councillors, we work very hard for Hackney residents.” He was “stepping down for 2014”.

Hamish Scott

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