All People’s Party puts representation on local election agenda

The Conservative nightmare in Croydon is that a strong UKIP performance on “Super Thursday” on May 22 next year, with the combination of European and local elections, will see their grip on the Town Hall broken as Tory supporters submit to the charms of Nigel Farage. Local Conservatives, though, can take solace that Labour now faces a split vote challenge of their own.

Prem Goyal: frustrated by Labour's attitude to its BME membership

Prem Goyal: frustrated by Labour’s attitude to its BME membership

A prominent campaigner in Labour’s Croydon North by-election victory of a year ago is coming back to Croydon to promote a new political party that claims that Labour has lost touch with its roots, and rejects BME, black and minority ethnic, candidates.

Prem Goyal, is the City entrepreneur who was noted for his work for the Labour party in many parliamentary by-elections across the country, and who has set up the All People’s Party out of a sense of frustration with Labour party selection processes that he feels are manipulated to keep out minority ethnic candidates, making Labour unrepresentative of the neighbourhoods it aspires to represent.

“It is unacceptable that out of the top 13 political leaders in Southwark, including 12 from Labour, we have only one minority leader,” Goyal has said as one example from a neighbouring borough. “It is an insult to talented minorities that only 10 per cent of political power is given at the top to those who make up 45 per cent of the borough’s population.”

Goyal’s message is likely to resonate in Croydon, where safe Labour wards have had black  councillors de-selected, replaced by white candidates. In one ward in the northern part of the borough, a number of Tamils who joined the Labour party have complained that they have been excluded from the selection process, with a prospective candidate refused permission to stand even for possible selection.

Goyal has also criticised the clandestine and somewhat obscure selection practices in Labour at local level, where the dates and locations of ward selection meetings have often been kept secret, even from ward members, until a week beforehand.

The All People’s Party has already selected BME candidates to challenge Labour in Southwark in both local and parliamentary elections.

While George Galloway’s Respect Party candidate, Lee Jasper, was dealt a severe electoral blow in the Croydon North by-election last November, any intervention by a splinter group such as the APP in next May’s Croydon Town Hall battles will unsettle the local Labour leadership while there is a disciplinary process underway against one of its senior, black councillors, after a complaint was filed apparently with the support of another Labour councillor.

Previous coverage of Croydon’s local elections and selections:

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5 Responses to All People’s Party puts representation on local election agenda

  1. All political parties select BME candidates who are considered “Yes people” who agree with the party’s local leaders. Candidates who are outspoken and have different views are not selected. I agree that there are talented BME candidates but most of them have an attitude problem which is not accepted in local council politics.

    Candidates should be selected on merit and not just because they are from a BME background.

    I have not been selected by the Conservatives as a candidate for a Conservative majority ward because I am seen as an outspoken person with different views sometimes even controversial and not because of my BME background.

  2. Mr Ratnaraja makes an important point. The Labour Party will not loose the forthcoming elections because it has too few women or too few BME candidates.
    It will condemn itself to further periods of opposition because it cannot decide whether it is an old-style socialist party or a modern social democratic one.
    The Tories have spotted the weakness; hence all the ‘Red Ed’ stuff, which will only increase as we move closer to the forthcoming elections.
    If the Labour Party wants to be re-elected it needs floating voters – people who are uncommitted politically but who still feel safe with Labour policies. It will take the genius of a latter-day Peter Mandelson to convince middle London to return to Labour.

  3. It does not matter which Party it is in Croydon we have got to have candidates who can think critically, truly represent their constituents, behave in an open moral and ethical manner to hold the Council officers to account. The papers recently exposed on the Riesco Collection sale expose the degree of poor quality and unethical decision-making that is going on locally.

  4. Charlotte, I fully agree with your comment. Indeed your statement “truly represent their constituents” should be critical for how residents vote. For those that bother to attend Council meetings they will know that the current Councillors always vote according to their Party whip rather than vote according to the wishes of their constituents. If the All People’s Party do stand in next year’s local election in Croydon it will be interesting if they join UKIP in not having a Party whip.

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