Selections for next year’s London elections could have a Scandi-noir messy ending for some. WALTER CRONXITE on the latest to announce their departure from the capital’s political stage
Fiona Twycross, the London Assembly Member, last night announced that she would not be seeking selection by the Labour Party to stand for re-election to City Hall in 2020.
Twycross, who lives in Croydon, is the fourth Labour AM to announce their intention to stand down next year, with a fifth City Hall figure expected to announce a decision to decline re-selection, too, soon.
Twycross holds a PhD in Scandinavian literature. Such familiarity with Scandi-noir plot lines may have prepared her for the possibility that there could be a messy ending, as the London Labour Party gears itself up for its first selection process for City Hall elections since Jeremy Corbyn became party leader.
Twycross – who is regarded as someone from the “New Labour” wing of the party – has been a London-wide Assembly Member since 2012.
Because of the particular kind of proportional representation that is used to determine the make-up of City Hall, not only did Twycross have no guarantee that she would be selected for Labour’s London-wide list of candidates, but nor could she be sure that she would be nominated towards the top of that list, or even that she could be assured that Labour would have any AMs drawn from the nominees on the list.
For while London is resoundingly a Labour-held city, the peculiar mix-and-match Additional Member System of proportional representation by which Assembly Members are elected looks as if it may disadvantage Labour candidates who are on the London-wide list, exactly because of Labour’s expected success at the polls in 2020.
Of the 25 London Assembly Members elected every four years, 14 come from geographical constituencies, such as Croydon and Sutton. The other 11 come from party lists to make the total members from each party proportional to the votes cast for that party across the whole of London, using what is known as a modified D’Hondt allocation.
Recent polling suggests 13 of the constituencies in 2020 – including, for the first time, Croydon and Sutton – are likely to return Labour Assembly Members, so it is possible that Labour will not have any AMs from the party list.
Twycross’s statement last night follows Nicky Gavron (another AM drawn from the list), who announced her intentions at the end of January, Andrew Dismore (Barnet and Camden), and Jeanette Arnold (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest).
Navin Shah (Brent and Harrow) is expected to add his name to the band of non-runners shortly.
Twycross first entered City Hall in 2012, but Gavron, Dismore, Arnold and Shah are all very much from the Ken Livingstone era at City Hall, if not all from the same wing of the party as the first Mayor of London.
As a City Hall source told Inside Croydon: “There is already talk that not one of them standing again for re-selection would actually be successful in being re-selected.”
Twycrosss is Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for the fire service and resilience, which effectively doubles her City Hall salary to £106,140.
In her letter to Labour’s London regional director, Hazel Flynn, which she published on her Facebook page last night, Twycross expressed a desire, if not an expectation, to continue in that important role.
She wrote: “My role of Deputy Mayor for Fire and Resilience which I have been privileged to have carried out for almost a year is effectively a full-time role. While it is too early for the Mayor to make commitments on what he might do in a second term, if I am fortunate enough to be reappointed to this role by the Mayor after the election, I would want to focus on it full-time.
“Given this, and given the need to commit time to a selection process that I feel would be better used to deliver in my role as Deputy Mayor, I have made the decision to not re-stand.
“There is no greater honour than to be elected to represent both your home city and the Labour Party. As a London Assembly member, I have been proud to work with people from all parts of the Labour movement and people from a wide range of organisations across London including leading a pan-London campaign against Tory cuts to our emergency services.
“From my rapporteurship on Food Poverty, to my challenges to Boris Johnson on low pay and employment rights to my current work on the Assembly raising issues relating to Brexit and benefit changes, I have campaigned on social and economic injustice and will continue to do so both through my work on the Assembly over the coming year and in my future work.
“I look forward to continuing to campaign for the Labour Party and for our party’s success in the next Mayoral and General Elections.”
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