Labour has whittled down its candidates to stand for election to the council in West Thornton ward to a shortlist of five, all of whom are from a black or minority ethnic background, and three of whom are women.
The by-election, which is expected to be held on May 5 alongside the London Mayoral vote, has been called following the resignation of The Hon Emily Benn, who is flitting off to New York to pursue her career in a merchant bank.
The local Labour Party is understood to have received applications from more than a dozen members, keen to be picked to stand in the ultra-safe ward in Croydon North.
Following a meeting yesterday, the shortlist is:
Patsy Cummings is the recently elected chair of Croydon North constituency Labour Party. West Thornton could be third time lucky for Cummings. In 2014, she was one of three candidates standing in Tory-held Fairfield ward, where she out-polled her party colleagues and got within 500 votes of the third Conservative candidate, while last year, she missed out on selection for the Selhurst by-election.
Callton Young is a former senior civil servant in the environment department who was awarded the OBE in 2007. He has been a governor at St Giles special school in South Croydon for more than 15 years, including a spell as chair. He has also been a leading organiser of the annual Thornton Heath Festival.
Chaudry Khan has managed to get himself on to the shortlist, which is probably just as well: he is the chair of Labour’s West Thornton ward group.
Janet Campbell is active in the community, where she is known for fostering teenaged children.
Felicity Triner works as a supply teacher.
Young and Cummings must be reckoned to be the front-runners to join West Thornton’s sitting councillors Bernadette Khan and Stuart King. “It’s a very strong field,” one senior Labour official told Inside Croydon tonight.
The selection meeting to choose the candidate will be held on Wednesday, March 30.
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