Stroud Green Cllr Tim Gallagher joins Haringey colleagues withdrawing from Labour Party selection race
PUBLISHED: 15:50 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:03 24 November 2017
A Stroud Green councillor has said he won’t stand in next year’s local elections blaming a ‘poisonous’ selection process.
Tim Gallagher joins a number of councillors who have pulled out of the race including Haringey mayor Stephen Mann, Stroud Green’s Raj Sahota and council housing chief Alan Strickland who, like Gallagher, failed to automatically get selected after not winning a majority in first round elections.
In a letter published on social media Cllr Gallagher blamed his downfall on ‘deep unease’ about the state of the Haringey Labour Party and not being chosen outright in Wednesday’s vote.
Comparing changes in the party since local elections in 2014, Cllr Gallagher wrote: “Four years on Haringey Labour is an entirely different beast, inflamed with division, distrust, and what at times feels like hatred amongst party members.
“It has been embodied in particular by this poisonous selection process,” he added before noting all ‘sides’ shared blame for the mess.
He went on to say nothing excused the ‘aggressive purge’ of all councillors not deemed to fit a ‘flat-pack’ mould of Labour thinking.
Cllr Gallagher also mentioned council plans to regenerate the borough by shifting homes, land and business premises to a firm jointly run with developer Lendlease.
His colleague Cllr Strickland made no mention in his own letter of what critics describe as a “sell off” when he pulled out on Monday.
“Opponents will say we got what we deserved, having supported the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV),” Cllr Gallagher wrote.
Taking aim at the scheme’s critics, he stated: “For the people who organised so ruthlessly to get rid of us, we were all proxies for a single policy they were opposed to based on questionable degrees of understanding.”
But on Strickland’s and Gallagher’s letters a senior Haringey councillor told the Ham&High: “It’s clear they still just don’t get it.
“Party members select representatives to represent their views on the council. But when it is clear those representatives are not representing members’ views it is the democratic right of those members to select other representatives who will. This is what’s happening.
“Simply barking at members, ‘The HDV is good for you, eat up’, is not listening to members who have been asking, ‘Stop or pause’.”
The councillor argued ‘the reality’ was that none of the councillors’ withdrawal letters showed any acceptance of the fact party members, activists and Haringey’s two MPs, Catherine West and David Lammy, were against the HDV.
“This goes to show how disconnected and out of touch my council colleagues are,” the senior Haringey insider said.
“One adult in every 11 in Stroud Green is a Labour Party member. Is it really credible to say a Left conspiracy got 115 of them to a drafty hall on a cold Wednesday evening to vote? This is Stroud Green, not Beijing.”
The councillor added many members would have been ‘satisied’ had the HDV been paused but that people were instead offered a ‘binary choice’ of doing it or not.
“It is clear what Haringey Labour Party members feel about that choice. And it’s time those stepping down had the candour and grace to accept that.”
Cllr Gallagher continues in post until May 2018.