Walkout creates confusion over selection of Ilford South Labour candidate

Following disruption at a Labour members’ meeting, the leader of Redbridge Council has been nominated as the prospective Labour MP for Ilford South.

Cllr Jas Athwal was nominated as the candidate by Labour’s Seven Kings branch, despite the chairman of the meeting walking out part way through.

A source confirmed the meeting was heavily disrupted from the outset, leading to the chairman leaving.

Labour representatives then made a decision, after consulting with the London region Labour group, to proceed with the nomination votes at the branch, despite the lack of a chairman.

This decision was made because the deadline for nomination vote results is Saturday September 7 and no other meeting could be arranged in the meantime.

The vote went ahead and Cllr Athwal came out on top.

To date, the Redbridge Council leader has been nominated by the Goodmayes, Clementswood, Mayfield and Seven Kings Labour branches, as well as by Redbridge Young Labour to represent Labour in Ilford South.

Cllr Athwal has lived in Ilford for almost 50 years.

He said: “It means a lot to me to have the support of my home branch and three neighbouring branches. I am absolutely committed to Ilford, this is the only seat I will ever apply for and I will continue to work relentlessly to deliver for my neighbours, I hope as the first BAME MP we’ve ever had.”

The council leader arrived in London from Punjab with his parents when he was seven-years-old.

He added: “We had nothing and Ilford gave us everything – a welcoming home, an excellent education, job opportunities for my parents and most importantly, a better future for our family. Now I want to continue to give back to my community and make Ilford a better place for everyone.

“We deserve an MP who looks like us, who knows what it’s like to live here, to struggle and to succeed and who will fight for us every step of the way. I won’t let you down.”

Alice Richardson

Local Democracy Reporter