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Labour’s MEP lists. I’m angry and disappointed.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 23.25.20So, as reported on LabourList earlier, Labour’s MEP lists are now out, and I am angry and disappointed by the outcome. The full list of names, together with one line bios, website links, and Twitter usernames can be found at the end of this post, and there is a Twitter list as well here. Any errors and omissions are mine – please do comment or contact me if you want the table updated – updates will be added to the blog post, and the time of update indicated. The next stages in the selection process are explained in the LabourList piece.

But anyway, to the matter in hand: the people who have made it onto the lists.

First of all I am absolutely astounded to see the names of two former MEPs on the lists – Neena Gill for the West Midlands, and Glyn Ford for the South West. Neena’s record as a MEP in two terms (1999-2009) was not good – I worked as her Assistant for a period, and I can vouch for her incompetence. Why should she return? Glyn was a bit more effective, but he was a MEP from 1984 until 2009 – is 25 years serving in the European Parliament not enough? I am more optimistic about the return of Richard Corbett – no-one knows more about the functioning of the European Parliament than Richard does. He’s a committed European through and through, and while it would be good to see new people in the EP as well, Labour needs people like Richard.

Secondly there are a few startling omissions from the lists. I’ve already blogged about Anne Fairweather’s surprising omission, but I am surprised to not see Kevin Peel‘s name listed anywhere. I am also told that Carole Tongue sought a return to the EP but was not listed either. It also seems that in the South West there’s brewing anger that Razvan Constantinescu was not listed. I’m also surprised to not see Rupa Huq or Sally Prentice listed in London, having assumed (without knowing for sure) that they would be candidates. It strikes me that some names were deliberately eliminated in order to give some candidates a more or less free run, and the number of candidates with very heavy trade union links is notable, while the number with considerable EU experience is rather fewer. [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Kevin Peel and Rupa Huq are listed as reserves, in North West and London respectively.

Thirdly, there are some welcome new names on the lists. I’m very happy to see Hadleigh Roberts listed in the South West. I’ve never met him, but his thoughtful discussion of EU matters on blogs and Twitter gives a very good impression. I’ve also met Kevin Doran a number of times over the years in Brussels – he has the knowledge and skills to make an excellent MEP. Rory Palmer and Judith Kirton-Darling give good impressions in their presence online, while Del Singh and John Howarth seem slightly atypical political characters and their presence seems welcome. I know Anneliese Dodds from student politics, and I know both her ethics and abilities are good. People I trust think highly of Clare Moody. Andrea Biondi, an EU law professor and former candidate for the Italian Partito Democratico could turn out to be genius or problematic.

Fourthly, compiling the list below proved to be more complicated than I had expected. Very few candidates have websites, and while more are on Twitter, a number are simply not Googleable. OK, I know it is about activity on the ground, but when it comes to party members choosing the order of candidates on lists then many will be doing exactly what I did – trying to work out what these people are about. Often it is very hard to know.

In the end all of this leaves a very sour taste for me. It might seem fine to do some sort of stitch up, to deny party members the very best candidates by eliminating strong people at the shortlisting stage. But, as David Hallam comments here, this means the process is not seen to be legitimate by party members, and they will be less inclined to campaign. Further if Labour ends up with weaker MEPs as a result that only plays into the hands of the EU-sceptics and the intergovernmentalists. It is not as if the European Parliament has a lot of friends in the UK as it is. A stitch up now leaves us all worse off later.

Name Web Twitter

— East Midlands —

Glenis Wilmott (sitting) http://gleniswillmott.eu @gleniswillmott
Nicki Brooks - @NickiBrooksx
Labour Gedling Borough Cllr & Chief Whip
Khalid Hadadi - -
European Affairs Manager for Channel 4 in Brussels?
Rory Palmer http://rorypalmer.org @Rory_Palmer
Deputy City Mayor, Leicester; Cllr for Eyres Monsell; NPF rep
Linda Woodings - @LindaWoodings
Political Officer for the CWU in the East Midlands

— Eastern —

Richard Howitt (sitting) http://www.richardhowittmep.com/ @richardhowitt
Naseem Ayub - -
Labour Councillor in Biscot Ward, Luton
Bhavna Joshi http://www.votejoshi.com/ -
Previously Wandsworth Borough Councillor and Shadow Cabinet Member for Health, and Regeneration & Transport.
Alex Mayer - @alexlmayer
Member of Labour’s NPF
Paul Bishop - -
Can’t work out how this is… Googling ‘Paul Bishop Labour’ gives nothing relevant. [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Labour candidate in South Suffolk in 1997.
Sandy Martin - @sandyofipswich
Leader Suffolk County Labour Group
Chris Ostrowski - -
Former Labour PPC in Norwich North (2009)

— London —

Mary Honeyball (sitting) http://thehoneyballbuzz.com/ @maryhoneyball
Claude Moraes (sitting) http://www.claudemoraes.com/ @ClaudeMoraesMEP
Sanchia Alasia http://sanchiaalasia.com/ @sanchia46
Labour Councillor for Barking & Dagenham
Lucy Anderson - @Lucy4MEP
Member of Labour’s NPF
Ivana Bartoletti http://www.ivanabartoletti.co.uk/ @ivanabartoletti
Deputy Director of the Fabian Women’s Network
Andrea Biondi http://www.andreabiondi.eu/ @AndreaBiondiUK
Professor of European Union Law at King’s College London
Seb Dance - @SebDance
Former SpAd to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. [UPDATE: 9.4.13, 2350]: Now working as Government Relations Adviser at ActionAid UK
Kamaljeet Jandu http://www.kamaljeetjandu.org.uk @KamaljeetJandu
GMB National Officer for Equality [UPDATE 11.4.13, 0720: web link added]

— North East —

Judith Kirton-Darling http://www.judeforthenortheast.org.uk/ @Jude_KD
European TUC Confederal Secretary [UPDATE 9.4.13, 2340]: web link added
Jayne Shotton http://jayneshotton.wordpress.com/ @jshttn
“Trade union organiser” [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Councillor in North Tyneside until 2010.
Paul Brannen - -
Head of Advocacy and Influence at Christian Aid
Nick Wallis http://darlingtoncouncillor.blogspot.de/ @cllrnickwallis
Labour Councillor for Haughton West ward, Darlington. [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Was on Labour’s list in the North East in 2009.

— North West —

Arlene McCarthy (sitting) http://www.arlenemccarthy.labour.co.uk/ @EuroMP_ArleneMc
Steve Carter - @SteveCarter001
Leader of Macclesfield Borough Council Labour group
Kevin Doran - @ResEuropa
Managing Director of Grayling Belgium’s EU public affairs team [UPDATE 9.4.13, 0030]: Kevin has now left Grayling, and is working independently in the North West. He has a new Twitter account for the campaign too – @KevinDoranEU
Theresa Griffin - @TheresaG_EU
National Policy Forum rep. Member of UNITE. Work for UNISON. [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Was on Labour’s list in the North West in both 2004 and 2009.
Afzal Khan - @cllrakhan
Labour Councillor and former Lord Mayor of Manchester.
Wajid Khan - @wajid4europe
Daneshouse with Stoneyholme Ward in Burnley
Pascale Lamb - @PascaleLamb
No info to be found… [UPDATE 9.4.13, 0020]: she is listed as Catherine Stihler’s parliamentary assistant
Angeliki Stogia http://www.angeliki4eu.org/ @Angeliki4eu
Councillor in Whalley Range Ward, Manchester [UPDATE 15.4.13: Web link added]
Julie Ward - -
No idea… Not found anyone on Google.

— South East —

Anneliese Dodds http://www.anneliesedodds.org.uk/ @AnnelieseDodds
Former Labour PPC for Reading East [UPDATE 10.4.13, 1110]: Twitter & web link added
Maggie Hughes - @EUMaggie_Hughes
Victims’ rights campaigner in Europe. Active trade unionist
Karen Landles - @karenlandles
Former Guildford PPC [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Is on the NPF.
Farah Nazeer http://farahnazeerlabour.com/ @FarahNazeer
Labour Councillor in Newham, London, and Director of External Affairs at the Motor Neurone Disease Association [NOTE: biog and web link updated 9.4.13 at 1040]
Emily Westley - @emilywestley
Labour councillor in Hastings & Rye
Phil Bloomer - @pbloomer
Campaigns and Policy Director for Oxfam
John Howarth http://www.johnhowarth.com/ @JohnHowarth1958
Businessman, strategist, journalist (food, fun, travel, politics), musician
Del Singh http://delsingh.com/ @DelDSingh
International Development Advisor, Board Member Care International UK
James Swindlehurst - -
Labour Councillor in Slough
James Watkins - @watkins_js
No idea what he does [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Seems he’s on the Exec of Labour Movement for Europe, although LME’s website has not been updated to say so

— South West —

Clare Moody http://claremoody.org/ @ClareMMoody
Labour Candidate for Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012
Ann Reeder - -
LGiU (Local Government Information Unit) and South West Councils
Jude Robinson http://juderobinson.wordpress.com/ @Juderobinson
Labour & Coop Cornwall Councillor for Camborne North
Junab Ali - -
Swindon Councillor
Glyn Ford - -
Former MEP, consultant at G Plus Europe
Hadleigh Roberts http://hadleighroberts.com/ @HadleighRoberts
Translator and interpreter, French politics specialist

— West Midlands —

Claire Edwards - -
Councillor in Rugby
Neena Gill - @MEPNeenaGill
Former MEP
Olwen Hamer - @OlwenHamer
Councillor in Stoke on Trent
Lynda Waltho - @Lyndyluv
(
account locked)
Former MP for Stourbridge (2005-2010)
Ansar Ali-Khan - @ansar_ali_khan
Councillor in Birmingham
Anthony Ethapemi - -
Lawyer in Harrow, North London
Sion Simon http://www.sion-simon.org.uk/ @sionsimon
Former MP for Birmingham Erdington

— Yorkshire & the Humber —

Linda McAvan (sitting) http://www.lindamcavanmep.org.uk/ @LindaMcAvanMEP
Richard Corbett http://www.richardcorbett.org.uk/ @richardcorbett
Former MEP, currently member of Herman van Rompuy’s cabinet
Darren Hughes http://www.darrenjlhughes.com/ @darrenjlhughes
Labour/Coop Party. Chairman of Shield HIV and Rush House Ltd. [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Previously a Councillor in Rotherham and previously a member of the Conservative Party.
Asghar Khan - @asgharlab
Member of Leeds City Council
Helen Mirfin-Boukouris - @MirfinBoukouris
Member of Sheffield City Council
Tracey Simpson-Lang - -
Councillor in York
Eleanor Tunnicliffe - @ejtunnicliffe
Lawyer at DAC Beachcroft. [UPDATE 9.4.13, 1100]: Labour candidate in Richmond Park in 2010

— Scotland —

David Martin (sitting) http://www.martinmep.com/ @davidmartinmep
Catherine Stihler (sitting) http://www.cstihlermep.com/ @C_Stihler_MEP
Asim Khan - -
No details found
Derek Munn - -
Former SpAd, now Director of Policy & Public Affairs at the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists
Katrina Murray - @katrinamurray71
Trade unionist, Labour Party activist, NHS worker
Kirsty O’Brien - @Coisty_OB
Freelance public affairs & campaigns consultant, previously Head of Policy at Labour Party

— Wales —

Derek Vaughan (sitting) http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/ @derekvaughan
Jayne Bryant http://jaynebryant.wordpress.com/ @JBryantWales
Labour member in Newport
Christina Rees - @ChrisForArfon
Councillor in Porthcawl
Alex Thomas - -
Councillor on Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

NOTE: for the sake of complete transparency. No candidate has asked me to write this post. The views within it are mine, and mine alone. I know Anne Fairweather, Richard Corbett and Kevin Doran reasonably well. I have met Glyn Ford, Sanchia Alasia and Lucy Anderson, and worked for Neena Gill. I knew Anneliese Dodds in student politics. I also know a number of the sitting MEPs (although this post is not about them). I regularly exchange tweets with, but have not met, Kevin Peel and Hadleigh Roberts.

Photo: "The European Parliament" by Gerry Balding on August 27, 2011 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

38 Comments

  • Andrea |

    James Watkins (SE) sits on Labour movement for Europe executive. He has written some pieces for Labour Uncut.

    Paul Bishop (East) stood in South Suffolk in 1998.

    Peel is one of the reserves in NW.

    The only thing I could find on Asim Khan (Scotland) is a pic of him with other BAME candidates posing with Lamont and Miliband.

    Olwen Hamer (West Midlands) was also shortlisted for North West but picked up West Midlands (as she operates there). Julie Ward got the place freed by her.

    Theresa Griffin (NW) and Nick Wallis (NE) have been past Euro candidates. Griffin was the first not elected in NW in both 2004 and 2009 IIRC.

    Other info on already identified candidates:
    Eleanor Tunnicliffe (Yorkshire) stood in Richmond Park in 2010.
    Darren Hughes (Yorkshire) was a Cllr in Rotherham. He lost his seat to an Indy last year (he was elected as Tory 4 years before).
    Jayne Shotton (NE) was also a Cllr in North Tyneside until 2010.
    Kern Landles (SE) is a NPF Rep. She stood in Epsom and Ewell local elections in 2011 and works as Behavioural Insight Director at CBS Outdoor).

    I think Alex Mayer (East) has been Labour agent in Cambridge for a number of years. And Alex stands for Alexandra (as there will be 2 ballots in some regions and the gender is important in East as a woman must be number 2 on the list and LAbour is unlike to win more than 2 seats)

    In some regions there are 1 more candidates than places available, in others not. Why?

    If Wales will be sitting MEP-woman-man-woman, we already know Alex Thomas is ranked third. There can’t be other ways.

    I can’t see Ford making a comeback at the moment. I don’t think Labour will get 2 seats in South West.

  • Jon |

    @Andrea – thank you! Super research!

    Regions with one more – it depends on the gender quota I suppose? If they will select 3 men and 4 women, or vice versa, they select 4 men and 4 women at this stage?

    Wales – hadn’t noticed that. Looks like you are right, yes, so the battle is between the two women to see who comes 2nd vs. 4th.

  • Joseph |

    Hi Jon, Interesting selections from Labour again ….. In the East Midlands Nikki Brookes was originally part of the selecting process (@NickiBrooksx see tweet 16Feb) she must have selected herself!!

  • Jon |

    @Joseph – interesting! It does indeed look like that! The tweets are here and here, and just in case she deletes them, there’s a screenshot I took of the tweets here.

    @Rupa – thanks for the clarification, and indeed I was surprised to not see you listed!

  • Jon |

    I should also have mentioned Christine Quigley who would have been super too. As she told me in January she thought the cost of mounting a campaign was prohibitive and hence did not stand, an issue she reminds me of in this tweet.

  • Henning |

    hmm, this shortlisting business seems like a stitch-up in most cases…

  • Andrea |

    I made a typo in my previous comment. Bishop (East) stood in Suffolk South in 1997, not 98.

    I also noticed that Claire Edwards (West Midlands) was number 3 on 2009 list (first not incumbent)
    Steve Carter (NW) also stood in 2009 (number 4 behind the 2 incumbents and Theresa Griffin).

    I notice a couple of people who had parliamentary ambitions but were blocked in one way or the other in the past…..cynically, you can think the party thought “well, let them stand for Bruxelles, if they are elected, no-one will notice them even if they say silly things” considering how low the media attention about MEPs work is.

    And on a gossip note, Christina Rees (Wales) is the former wife of Ron Davies.

    ” it depends on the gender quota I suppose? If they will select 3 men and 4 women, or vice versa, they select 4 men and 4 women at this stage?”

    I thought you were right until I reached the West Midlands where they shortlisted 3 men and 4 women.

  • Mickey |

    Your anger and disappointment will be shared by many. The London selections bear all the hallmarks of a stitch-up by Unite and its friends, and are a disgrace. I understand that Anne Fairweather (3rd in the London ballot last time, just missing a seat) wasn’t even offered an interview. Nor was Carole Tongue, an outstanding and charismatic MEP for 15 years. A strong whiff both of unlawful age discrimination and of duffing over the potentially strong Labour vote winners so as to allow the Unite-backed candidate (Lucy Anderson) a comparatively free run. Is the “new way” the Labour Party is to be run?

  • Martin |

    I live in Newham and had to look Farah Nazeer up on the council website to check she really existed.

    As far as I can tell she was first elected in 2010. None of the other councillors I follow on Twitter has ever mentioned her.

  • Jon |

    @Andrea – hmmm. West Midlands knows a woman will top the list because there is no sitting MEP. So it has to be 4 women and 3 men. If there are sitting MEPs the rule is different, although I don’t have all the permutations to hand. Could that explain it?

    @Mickey – yes, that seems more or less it, yes.

    @Martin – no idea. But conversely I have heard from people who do rate her abilities. I do not know her though, so I cannot judge.

  • Jon |

    In the meantime today I have been informed, privately, of at least two more people who would have made excellent candidates, but were not shortlisted. I’ve also raised the accusation above – that East Midlands candidate Nicki Brooks selected herself – with members of the NEC on Twitter, so far without reply.

    Meanwhile Left Futures did have a story on its website about the stitch up in West Midlands in favour of Sion Simon. It was here, but has now been deleted. You might still find it in the Google Web Cache here, and if that fails there’s a PDF of it here.

  • Jon |

    No, Michael Cashman announced about 6 months ago that he would not be seeking a further term.

  • Andrea |

    I asked a former East Midlands MP if he knew who Khalid Hadadi was but he didn’t.

    Basically the retirements are:

    Michael Cashman (West Midlands)
    Stephen Hughes (North East)
    Peter Skinner (South East)
    Brian Simpson (North West)

    Realistically, how many winnable places are there for new candidates? It’s tricky to predict election results a year in advance (and Euro elections probably even more) but I would guess

    South East: 1 safe (woman) and 1 winnable (man)
    South West: 1 (woman)
    London: 1 (Labour is likely to increase from 2 to 3 seats)
    West Midlands: 2 (one man and one woman)
    North West: 2
    North East: 2
    Yorkshire: 1
    Wales: 1 more winnable (woman)
    Scotland: 1 if SLAB can manage to outpoll SNP (but the Euro elections will take place when Independence campaign will be in full force)

    In East of England and East Midlands it can be tricky to add a seat given UKIP is now strong (but their increase at Euro elections can be less evident as they already start from an high position).

    However, middle ranking positions can be useful if you are lucky…..Mary Honeyball teaches this!

  • Jon |

    Broadly agree… But more than 1 in North East would be hard. Region is small. And will Labour get more than 2 of the 5 in Scotland? I doubt it…

    East – unlikely to be more than 1
    East Midlands – possible to get 2..? So 1 new?

  • Chris Paul |

    Could be @rupahuq would have been listed as one of four women in NW, though connections to the region are much reduced.

    I’m not sure how valuable it is to cherry pick and lament a few omissions of people you have heard of, or inclusions that you don’t rate really?

    If there were say 40 male applicants in NW it could be hard work getting to four, of whom perhaps only one will be elected, and by definition 36 are reserves or miss out completely.

    Although very sympathetic to our Manchester comrade Kev Peel who has just missed out I do feel we have a pretty good choice in front of us in the NW and I’m not sure that listing say 12 candidates with five dropping off the list after ranking would have helped?

  • Jon |

    Chris – fair points, but ultimately ones I do not agree with. It should not be my call whether Kevin Peel or Rupa Huq is on a list or not. Nor, actually, should it be a selection board’s decision, when we do not know what criteria the selection boards used (and, as you can see from comments above, there is even the allegation in East Midlands that a member of the board, Nikki Brookes, selected herself). What would be the problem with putting up *more* candidates than there are places on the lists, and letting members decide both which ones they prefer, and the order that they are placed?

    Just because, as you say, the North West has a decent bunch of candidates to choose from, does not make the process legitimate. You might be OK with the North West list, but you should have some understanding for Labour members in other areas where things are not so pleasant.

  • Bhavna Joshi |

    Hi Jon,

    Just to help you out further, I was the candidate in Central Suffolk & North Ipswich at the last General Election. My Twitter handle is @BhavnaJoshi or @VoteJoshi. My email address is votejoshi {at} hotmail(.)com. I have a YouTube Channel bhavnajoshi1. Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/VoteJoshi4MEP.

    Let me know if you require any further details.

    Really interesting article by the way.

    Many thanks,

    Bhavna Joshi (Eastern Euro Candidate)

  • Andrea |

    A couple of new websites launched

    Khan from Manchester
    http://www.afzalkhan.org.uk/

    Tracy Simpson Lang
    http://tracey4mep.wordpress.com/

    And Peter Watt on Labour Uncut solved the question about the number of candidates shortlisted. Their number can go from the number of available place on the list to the available place +2. It’s up to the selection panel to decide if they want to add the 2 more or not.

  • Julie Ward |

    Hi Jon and others, I was only informed very late – April 4th – that Olwen Hamer had dropped out of the NW process and at that point I was about to leave for Spain (Tenerife) where my partner and I are both working until April 27th – he is an actor and linguist and I am a writer. The other NW candidates knew on February 26th that they had been selected for this next crucial stage so they have had more than a month to prepare their campaigns. Internet connection is difficult for me here but hopefully upon my return to the UK I will be able to be more public. Interesting to note that you googled me – the most famous Julie Ward was apparently eaten by lions in Kenya in the 1980s – that could be a kinder fate than that which awaits one in politics! By the way I am a Labour Co-operative Party member and underwent training for prospective women parliamentary candidates in 2011. More anon.

  • Beth |

    Thanks so much for this Jon, I’m currently inviting candidates to a hustings and you’ve made this physically possible!
    P.S. Theresa Griffin’s website is: http://theresagriffin.eu/

  • Ian Young |

    One of the new names on their list is Sanchia Alasia who attended my local CLP to talk about Labour’s battle to defeat the BNP out of Barking & Dagenham. With the prospect of the xenophobic UKIP dog whistling dominating the agenda of the next EP election, her experience will be most welcome.

  • David |

    I think the selection process for Euro and Parliamentary candidates is NOT on a level playing field, unless you can get funding from a union or another affiliated society, or other words have the face to fit for them. Your campaign is put at a disadvantage already. I know someone {ex-councillor, a past PPC, moderate in the Labour Party and a union member} who spending his own life savings, going around the country trying to be selected in one of the 106 parliamentary seats. I would say that shows more commitment, than those who suck up to UNITE, UNISON, GMB and others, so they can get financial backing! What happened to the slogan One Nation Labour?

  • Naseem Ayub |

    Dear Jon

    Thank you for the mention in your comments.
    However, please feel free to share the following information if you want about me. I am an Executive Member of the council with responsibility for theCommunity Safety Portfolio and I was short listed as PPC in Peterborough last year.
    You can also contact me if you have any questions or queries.
    Best Wishes

    Naseem Ayub
    MEP candidate
    Eastern Region

  • Julie Ward |

    Hi Jon, Please could you update the list with my website and email details as above? I see that the discussion and discontent continues! I’ve been having some interesting discussions with running mate Kevin Doran about internal politics. Enuf said eh? Julie

So, what do you think ?