Haringey LBC’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration has withdrawn from the Labour party’s selection process for next year’s local elections, blaming “factional activists” for creating a “sectarian atmosphere”.
Andy Strickland (Lab) has been at the centre of controversy over the Haringey Development Vehicle, a partnership with developer Lendlease that would take over £2bn of council assets. Opponents within the local Labour party have attempted to deselect councillors in the borough who have backed it.
Haringey leader Claire Kober earlier this month survived an attempt by Labour left wingers to deselect her.
In a letter to colleagues published online yesterday, Cllr Strickland said he was disappointed to have recently narrowly missed out on automatic re-selection in a ballot of Labour party members in the Noel Park ward which marks the first round of the reselection process.
He added that he had would have taken part in the second round had he felt it “would provide an opportunity for my record to be fairly compared to what other candidates could offer.”
Cllr Strickland added: “The outcome of the trigger ballot and the shortlisting vote, however, showed a majority of members at the meeting simply following written instructions given out by factional activists.
“In what feels like a sectarian atmosphere, I’m not confident that what I have to say would be received with an open mind.”
Cllr Strickland was first elected in Noel Park in 2010, when Labour won the ward back from the Liberal Democrats. He was re-elected with an increased majority in 2014.
He said that he had been “humbled” by the support of residents and had “done my best to fulfil the trust they had placed in me.”
Cllr Strickland added: “I do not believe in ideological factionalism, but instead in a Labour Party that is home to a variety of opinion on the left: a party where we work as a team for the greater good.
“I’ve taken what I felt were the right decisions, even if I knew it would be difficult. I have been driven by inclusive Labour values, not narrow exclusionary ideology.”
Haringey is in the midst of a legal battle over its partnership with Lendlease but the borough’s deputy chief executive Tracie Evans has urged the sector to persist with the model.
Haringey’s political balance is Labour 49 and Liberal Democrats eight.