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Labour deselections reversed

Waltham Forest mayor Anna Mbachu is delighted to be back in the Labour fold

The mayor of Waltham Forest, Anna Mbachu, expressed delight after being reinstated by Labour following her controversial deselection as a councillor last June.

Mbachu and fellow councillor Shameem Highfield were both reconfirmed as candidates, a move that followed lobbying by Operation Black Vote.

A third BME councillor, Milton Martin, crossed the floor from Labour to the Liberal Democrats in July last year, after he too was ditched as a local election candidate.

The news that Mbachu and Highfield were reinstated was welcomed by OBV’s Simon Woolley, who had directly lobbied the local and national party to resolve the problem.

Woolley said: ‘This is an excellent decision, and a just one too, which demonstrates what activism can do. OBV works to ensure that BME talent across all parties is recognised and not mistreated.

‘We made it clear to the local Labour party early on that the deselections were unacceptable, and we demanded action while affording suggestions about ways forward.’

Mbachu said that she was relieved to be a candidate again, and said that she was eager to make up for lost time campaigning in her ward after spending the past seven months fighting her deselection.

She said: ‘I am delighted with the result, even though it has taken some time. It wasn’t the fault of the Labour Party as a whole, but it was about some people at the grassroots. But I’m willing to put this all behind me now and move on.’

She added that the episode should be a spark to make changes to the system for picking local election candidates.

Another deselection councillor, Elizabeth Davies, was also reinstated, however one BME councillor, Tarsem Bhogal, did not win his appeal against his deselection and will not be standing as a Labour candidate in Waltham Forest on 5th May.

By Lester Holloway

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