“It is plain as day that the candidate selection process now being run by the Party is being factionally abused and is not fit for purpose.”
Read former Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad‘s statement in response to the Labour Party’s decision to block her candidacy and her chance to win back the seat that she represented just three years ago.
I am devastated that the Labour Party has blocked me from standing to once again represent my community in Parliament, the community I have spent the last 20 years of my life fighting for. At the same time, I am angry that local members and our local community in Kensington have been denied the opportunity to vote in a free and fair contest, which has been sacrificed for the sake of factional intrigue from Labour officials.
This campaign has never been about me. I stood to offer dedicated representation for the people of Kensington in Parliament, from someone who knows and cares for our communities. From my role as a local councillor and Labour Group leader, to my campaigning efforts as Kensington’s MP on housing issues so dear to our hearts, I have only ever sought the chance to champion our people, whose voices all too often go unheard.
If I have been outspoken in my politics, it is due to my passion and care for Kensington – for my neighbours and friends – and because of my burning desire to stamp out injustice and build a fairer, more equal society. Upsettingly, unaccountable Labour officials have exploited this outspokenness to unjustly prevent me from standing for the seat I won just five years ago, the seat I came agonisingly close to holding even in 2019, despite the trade union backing which should have seen me longlisted automatically. It is plain as day that the candidate selection process now being run by the Party is being factionally abused and is not fit for purpose.
I deplore injustice, and through my 16 years on the Council, various reports and my recent book, ‘One Kensington’ I have done my utmost not only to draw attention to the very real inequalities in our community but to actively fight it, from the council chamber to the House of Commons. Above all, my driving ambition has been to combat the inequality which scars our community, the systematic disregard for working-class people which led to the atrocity of the Grenfell Tower fire, and which has led many to lose faith with the political process.
These people deserve and need representation in Parliament. I hope that Labour’s eventual candidate will gain the respect and trust of all communities in Kensington. It won’t be easy.
- Emma Dent-Coad is the former MP for Kensington, follow her on twitter here.