Prem Goyal, the leader of the All People’s Party, made the announcement via Twitter this morning. He did so slightly mischievously, missing out just a single word.
“Very pleased that Madonna is standing for APP in Croydon and Sutton,” the south London businessman said. “She is the type of leader that London needs now!”
The missing word from that message?
Because that’s the surname of the All People’s Party’s candidate, as in Madonna Lewis. Not to be confused, presumably as attention-seeking Goyal would like, with Madonna Louise Ciccone, who possibly would provide a very different brand of leadership for Croydon than that currently offered by Tony Newman or Gav Barfwell.
Speaking from an Oscars’ night party in Los Angeles, a spokesperson from the record company of pop and movie star Madonna told Inside Croydon, “Madonna really loves London, and she truly loves Croydon. But unfortunately, standing for election to the London Assembly isn’t in her schedule at this moment in time.”
Which is a bit of a shame, because it is easier to find out information about Madonna (that one) than it is to find out anything about Madonna Lewis.
Even the All People’s Party doesn’t seem to have any biographical information on Lewis, posting her picture and just her forename on its candidates’ page this morning.
Goyal formed the All People’s Party shortly after he lost in a bid to be selected by Labour as its parliamentary candidate in Bermondsey, the seat where in 2015 Neil Coyle defeated Simon Hughes, the senior Liberal Democrat who had been MP for the constituency since 1983. Goyal missed out on the Labour nomination by just a single vote.
Goyal had previously been a generous donor to Labour in Southwark, a vice-chair of the local party and a councillor, describing himself as “Labour through and through”, but after failing to be selected, he formed the All People’s Party – APP.
In 2013, Goyal wrote for this website: “It is absolutely unacceptable to me that the 45 per cent talented minority population in Southwark, which generates 70 per cent of the Labour votes, get only 10 per cent representation at the top decision-making table… This is exploitation. And so we need a solution now because Labour have told me they will not change.
“The All People’s Party is for all people and wants to eradicate inequality at the top in Southwark and beyond. Equally important, APP wants to provide leadership opportunities to community champions now, not in 2050.”
Lewis is the seventh APP candidate announced to be running in the London Assembly elections on May 5, and this is the first time APP have found a candidate to stand in a Croydon election. APP did not field a single candidate in Croydon’s local elections in 2014.
Goyal’s party did put up a candidate in the Old Southwark and Bermondsey constituency last year, where the party-founder had wanted to stand for Labour. They lost their deposit with 59 votes. Goyal stood in Camberwell and Peckham, where he got 829 votes.
Announcing her candidature today, Lewis said, “I would like to thank APP for having the faith to make me a candidate. I will fight hard for the people of Croydon and Sutton, who for too long have had their voices ignored by the mainstream parties. If given the chance, I will make sure that all of their voices are heard in City Hall.”
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