IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Islington councillor’s bid to become an MP, just days after local election

Claudia Webbe, returned as a councillor in Bunhill ward last Thursday, targets south-east London by-election

11 May, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Cllr Claudia Webbe: ‘I think it’s the right time [to become an MP], there was an opportunity there to make a difference in parliament’

A LEADING councillor has put herself forward as a parliamentary candidate in south-east London, less than a week after being re-elected to Islington Council.

Claudia Webbe said she wanted stand in Lewisham East, a safe Labour constituency, to “speed up” Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.

The party needs to select a candidate to stand in a by-election caused by MP Heidi Alexander’s decision to quit the House of Commons to work with Mayor Sadiq Khan at City Hall.

Cllr Webbe was returned as a councillor in Bunhill ward last Thursday and was due to continue a key role in the Labour cabinet at the Town Hall but, if selected, could be immediately thrust into another election.

She told the Tribune: “I think it’s the right time [to become an MP], there was an opportunity there to make a difference in parliament. I’ve achieved a tremendous amount here in Islington. I think the diversity and vibrancy of Lewisham is attractive.”

She added: “I have always said I support Jeremy Corbyn as leader. I believe he is taking the Labour Party in the right direction by being signed up to an anti-austerity agenda and I want to see him as prime minister. I can help speed up that process by his side in parliament.”

Asked if she was not disappointing those who elected her to the Town Hall by possibly moving south of the river, Cllr Webbe said: “Nothing has been decided. I’ve put my name in the hat and it’s far too early to say that I might be disappointing residents.”

She added: “I have no idea if Lewisham East wants someone like me or someone more local, but in six days’ time I will know. If I’m not success­ful I hope people of Isling­ton will continue to work with me with open arms.”

Cllr Webbe has been part of Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee, since 2016. She was formerly the chair of a Met Police unit set up in 1998 to tackle gun crime in black communities, dubbed Operation Trident.

The local Labour Party group in Lewisham will choose the final candidate on Wednesday evening and two Lewisham councillors – Brenda Dacres and Sakina Sheik – have also put them­selves forward. Labour holds a majority of more than 21,000 in the constituency.

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