Greenwich Council’s deputy leader to stand down

Greenwich Time, 23 April 2013

Listen carefully, and you might hear screams of anguish in the air. It’s now less than a year until the London borough elections, and parties across the capital are picking their candidates for next May’s poll.

By all accounts, the process in Greenwich Labour has so far been bloody, as new faces fight to get a foothold on the council and old hands cling on for dear life. Cabinet members have found themselves in the firing line, with one forced to shift ward and two others without a seat so far. Local members, it seems, are finally finding their voice.

Outgoing council leader Chris Roberts is home and hosed in his Glyndon ward – but his deputy and loyal enforcer Peter Brooks has decided to step down from his berth at Thamesmead Moorings. Party whispers say he decided to walk before he was pushed.

It’s thought that Brooks has been Roberts’ choice to succeed him as leader of the party – but without his loyal second-in-command, Roberts will find it much harder to control the council from the back seat.

Fellow cabinet members Peter Kotz and Sajid Jawaid have been dumped by party members in Thamesmead Moorings and Plumstead respectively, while former cabinet member-turned Roberts critic Rajwant Sidhu was booted out of the party altogether just before selections started.

Selections are still far from complete – there’ll be others this website doesn’t know about or hasn’t been able to stand up, and plenty of switching between wards. But plenty of new blood is guaranteed for Labour, with veteran councillors Janet and Jim Gillman stepping down, along with former mayor David Grant, bullying whistle-blower Alex Grant and fellow “awkward squad” member Dick Quibell. Confirmed new faces include human rights campaigner Ambreen Hisbani, selected in Woolwich Common ward along with ex-councillor David Gardner – as local party chair, he’s a possible contender for leader.

As for Greenwich Conservatives, they got their rows out of the way early with the debacle over dumping Eileen Glover out in Eltham South. And they’re being more open about who they’ve picked.

One new face standing for them in Blackheath Westcombe – one of the few council seat’s that’s a genuine battleground will be Thomas Turrell, who’s conveniently also turned up on a group called the Blackheath Royal Standard Village Association. He’ll be hoping to do better than he did at a recent student union election.

No news of any candidates from the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, but People Before Profit, who have stood candidates for Lewisham Council in recent years, have picked married couple Nicola and Michael Walters to run for them in Greenwich West ward.

More details as I get them. (Hopefully.) Of course, if none of these names appeal to you, you could always run yourself. With a poll not expected until 22 May 2014, you’ve plenty of time to prepare yet.


  1. Wolwich Riverside : John Fahy, Barbara Barwick and Jackie Smith.

    So it looks like Jackie Smith (assuming it’s the same Jackie Smith) moved from Moorings to Riverside

  2. It certainly is the same Jackie Smith. There were three cabinet members in Thamesmead Moorings ward – local members mobilised to throw all three out.

    Charlton picked Allan MacCarthy, Gary Parker and current Peninsula cllr Miranda Williams last night.

  3. What happened to Iqbal in Riverside? Retiring or deselected to make room for Smith?

  4. Booted out, and failed to get a berth in Plumstead. Another Roberts ally out.

    Although nobody would notice if he was there or not, surely?

  5. I’m wondering how Miranda will be able to give lots of energy and enthusiasm to the role given her recent birth to twins? Everyone I know with twins says its a brutal undertaking..

  6. That’s fine then, they’ll be self sufficient by September

    And those kids turned out to be model citizens, so I’m much reassured now

  7. Blackheath Royal Standard Village??

    Blackheath Village, Blackheath Royal Standard, Blackheath Village and Royal Standard – all suitable names.

    Blackheath Royal Standard Village – nonsense.

  8. Hey Jeff – you would be surprised that women are able to give birth to plenty of babies and still carry out their jobs to a high standard! Dear me!

  9. Hey Brenda – this is not a sexist comment and trivialising it with a “dear me” embarrasses yourself. The huge amount that working women cram into their days is nothing short of amazing. The hours and effort demanded of councillors in large wards with diverse issues to tackle is equally amazing. The amount of care twins require, and the lack of sleep they impose on their parents is punishing. Do I think Miranda can operate with the same amount of energy and vigour as Allan and Gary? I hope so.

  10. Before I’m picked up again, clearly I mean the “huge amount that working mothers cram into their days”

  11. Nope, I’m not feeling an embarrassment to the dear me comment. But yes, here’s to hoping that Miranda will manage to come back to work and operate at an appropriate standard. I really hope so too.

  12. Greenwich Green Party has candidates in the following wards so far.
    Blackheath Westcombe: Trevor Allman
    Kidbrooke: Arthur Hayles
    Woolwich Riverside: Phillip Connolly
    Charlton: Dave Sharman and Tim Wilson
    Plumstead Common: Sarah Cully

    The candidates for Peninsula Ward will probably be Lucy Early, Jan King and James Parker, as they are the only nominations so far.

    Other wards to be confirmed.

  13. Democracy is imperfect (cue the Churchill quote) and always will be. However the case for PR in local elections is strongest at times like these, when local parties are choosing their candidates. In a strongly Tory shire or a Labour stronghold like Greenwich it is the local party members who effectively choose the majority of the councillors, the actual election is a formality.

    It is a shame when we are remembering our local heroine Emily Davison, that the logic for not voting is so compelling. Local PR would put power back in the hands of the people.

  14. As Green Party candidate for Blackheath Westcombe Ward, I can’t disagree with any of the above.

    Glad to see you pay tribute to Emily Wilding Davison, unlike former Greenwich Lib Dem Councillor Paul Webbewood, who described her as a “Low-tech Suicide Bomber” on Twitter.

  15. Have you been time-travelling, Trevor?

    Plumstead Common ward hasn’t been around for more than 10 years now!

  16. I am in a constant time-warp !!
    Plumstead something-or-other then !!

  17. Wow, a typically ill informed posting, based it seems on rumour and gossip.

    From what I have seen, the selection process is working exactly as it should. The Labour Party will offer an excellent selection of candidates to local people next year. And I am confident that local people will reward the excellent record of delivery by giving Labour another strong victory.

  18. Mark, did you tell the local Labour Party about your recent past promoting a right-wing party in Scotland, and your association with a climate change-denying businessman, when applying to be a candidate yourself?

  19. Reading that last post by Mark Adams, he sounds like an ideal Labour Party candidate.
    He repeats the rhetoric to the last word, and doesn’t appear to have an independent thought in his brain, so won’t rock the boat and will be ideal voting fodder for whatever the Mafia leadership want to foist upon the residents of the London Borough of Greenwich.

  20. Disappointed to read the comments about Miranda Williams. I’m not accusing anyone (i.e. Jeff) of sexism but I really don’t think there is any valid reason for bringing up the number of kids someone has as a reason for questioning their ability to do their duties. If a councillor feels they can carry out the job (and the leave of absence seems sensible) then they should be judged on results, nothing else. I have 2 kids under 5 but I bet if I was running for councillor no-one would bring that up. Come on fellas, it’s 2013, let’s raise our game.

  21. I’m not sure in what overly sensitive world we live in where anything I’ve said can be seen as sexist – unless of course you approach it looking for sexism? The concern over energy levels in the next 4 years would remain valid if it were Miranda’s husband was running for this position.
    But I 100% agree, results are what matters, and out of interest Paul, could you (or anyone?) direct me to a list of Miranda’s achievements in Peninsula ward so we have a yard stick to measure against?

  22. Thanks for replying Jeff. I can assure you I don’t go round looking for examples of sexism to be offended by.

    You say the issue would be just as relevant if it were a male councillor but I disagree. Show me examples of articles/comments where people are asking questions of male councillors (or indeed male anything) based on their number of kids. I don’t think those examples are there, whereas just today I saw two prime examples (via the wonders of Twitter) of women being judged/discussed differently, see below if you are interested. Bottom line, I think it is wrong to bring up a persons domestic situation as a criteria for pre-judging their performance.

    The yardstick idea as a way of measuring performance pre and post twins is, frankly, bonkers but perhaps I misunderstand what you are suggesting. (with great comments below the line by Zadie Smith & Jane Smiley

  23. I think the question is quite clear. Show me a list of things that changed for the better in Peninsula Ward as a direct result of Miranda’s actions in the capacity of councillor?

  24. Why on earth would I do that Jeff? I am talking about whether or not a woman (or mans) domestic situation is a valid thing to raise regarding their ability to do their job (clue: it isn’t). If you have a particular issue with this councillors record then that’s fine, by all means call her out on it and highlight any deficiencies you find, but use her record, not her gender or children.

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