Labour to have all-woman shortlist for Norbury by-election

Labour is to have an all-woman shortlist to select its candidate for the by-election in Norbury and Pollards Hill.

Labour leader Tony Newman out supporting Maddie Henson (centre), who was elected, and Caragh Skipper, who wasn’t, before last year’s council elections

The council has yet to announce a date for the by-election, which has been caused following the death last month of the long-standing and widely respected councillor Maggie Mansell.

Labour members in the ward will have been notified of a preliminary meeting to be held on February 7, with those candidates shortlisted going forward to a selection meeting before the ward members on February 14. As a staunchly Labour ward, whoever does get selected can expect to be elected on to the council and hold the seat for as long as they want.

The use of an all-women’s shortlist is unsurprising: the recently reconfigured ward has two council seats, with the other councillor being Shafi Khan. Labour Party policy is to have a minimum of one woman candidate in multi-member election areas.

Croydon Labour’s Local Campaign Forum met for the first time in almost 12 months just before Christmas, when – with Councillor Mansell’s illness not being considered – there was already some discussion of preparations for council by-elections. This was followed up last month by an appeal to members to put themselves forward for consideration for the local party’s approved candidate list.

Some within the local party suggest that council leader Tony Newman has an agenda, and wants to secure early election to the Town Hall of Caragh Skipper, the former chair of the Croydon Central local party. Skipper stood as a council candidate last May, but lost the Labour-held seat in Addiscombe East ward.

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