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Councillor ousted in shock move by Labour

Aysegul Erdogan suffers double setback as she seeks to stand for Labour in next year's local elections

13 October, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Cllr Aysegul Erdogan: ‘I am disappointed about what happened, but it hasn’t deterred me at all’

A COUNCILLOR last night (Thursday) failed in her bid to stand in next year’s local elections – for the second time this week.

Kurdish councillor Aysegul Erdogan, who has represented the Highbury East ward since 2014, did not get enough votes from members at a meeting of the branch Labour party on Tuesday night.

And she failed to be selected as a candidate for St Peter’s, the ward she lives in, last night. Current councillors Martin Klute and Alice Perry were reselected, while former headteacher Vivien Cutler will take the place of Gary Doolan, who will be stepping down.

Cllr Erdogan, a human rights activist, said she had been flooded with calls of support from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) councillors across the capital.

She is so far the only sitting member of the party who has not won enough votes from members in their ward to run again.

“I am disappointed about what happened, but it hasn’t deterred me at all,” Cllr Erdogan told the Tribune before the St Peter’s Ward meeting.

“I am Labour through and through, and I think it’s vital that female, BAME voices like mine are heard.

“I was the first female Kurdish councillor elected in Islington, and today I have been overwhelmed with calls from members of the Islington Kurdish community, BAME councillors across London and the constituents I’ve helped, who have heard about what happened last night. I have promised them all that I will fight on.”

Cllr Erdogan was one of nine Labour councillors who signed a letter of support for Jeremy Corbyn when he faced a leadership challenge last year.

She said she wanted to “continue to champion the voices of minorities, women and supporters of a more diverse and representative Labour Party.”

Councillor Osh Gantly was reselected. She said: “I’m gutted for Aysegul. Over the four years Ayse and I have been working together. I’ve watched her mature into one of the most effective political voices of her generation.

“Ayse is a feisty campaigner, particularly for our local Turkish/Kurdish community, and has a bright career ahead of her in British politics.

“Our two new prospective candidates, Sue Lukes and Chris Russell, are hard-working and dedicated local activists, with solid track records. I congratulate them on their selection and I’m proud to be standing on a Labour platform with them in 2018.”

Cllr Paul Smith, deputy leader of the Labour group, said: “The Labour party in Islington has 7,000 members. Selections are highly prized and there is a lot of competition but it is a democratic process and there has been lots of participation.

“The party leadership has made extra efforts to make sure there are a range of candidates that reflect the diversity of the borough of Islington.

“I’m confident that party members will select more women and a representative amount of BAME candidates.”

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