Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Keith Vaz Selects Labour's By Election Candidate!

The Pickled Politics blog has just reported that the disgraced Labour MP Keith Vaz is playing a key role in the selection of Labour's candidate in the Ealing Southall by-election, and is even on the selection panel. Sunny Hundal writes...
It is now almost a given that Cllr Virendra Sharma will be the Labour party candidate running for the Ealing Southall seat. This is a huge shame because, as one party member told me earlier this morning, they have traded one old and out-of-touch fogey for another. My view is that Sharma will win not because he avoided the factionalism or most likely to get the party votes, but because he managed to woo all the cronies that previously backed Piara Khabra. And guess what, Keith bloody Vaz was on the selection panel. The Labour party has stubbornly stayed away despite knowing all the dirty politics and factionalism at local level, and now they have this mess. They lost the opportunity to give Sonika Nirwal the chance to become the first
Asian woman MP in history and cement its reputation as the natural home for ethnic minorities. It has instead become, in Southall, the natural home for cronyism and dirty politics. But the best thing that could happen for the area and the local Labour
party is that they get routed in this by-election and come back in the general election when boundary changes make it easier for them to reclaim the seat, with the factionalism and old 80 yr old councillors who can barely speak English flushed out. I’ve met Cllr Sharma, he’s not that bad but there are plenty others who are. Either way, a huge missed opportunity for Labour. Respect have also announced their candidate - Salvinder Dhillon, another Sikh man. He will no doubt try and mop up the anti-war vote. The only one who has brand recognition is Tony Lit.


Anonymous said...

Iain you are usually reasonably balanced. This is a silly rant. There were very good reasons for not picking the others, which are not going to be covered here. Virendra Sharma would be a very good candidate in the sense that he's ideal for a by-election.

Your comment about not being able to speak English is appalling, and I hope you retract it. Hardly New Tory stuff.

As for the comment about Tony Lit - oh dear! Is that what it's about 'brand'? Isn't that everything that's so hollow about Cameron? It's all brand. All spin. The fact that he is deeply flawed, divisive and that he was signed up to the Tory party in order to parachute him in seems to have passed you by.

Labour will have a very solid candidate who will represent the whole constituency.

Iain Dale said...

Pathetic. As I made clear, these are the words of Sunny Hundal who writes the Pickled Politics blog and runs Asians in the Media. He's not a Conservative but knows a lot about the local Labour Party.

Isn't it about time you Labour Party HQ people went home?

Anonymous said...

When I hear the word Vaz I start counting the spoons.

Hughes Views said...

Oh dear! Dale reduced to cutting and pasting from other blogs shock...

Will Parbury said...

Tony Lit - Tory Twit

Anonymous said...

Who cares which candidate New Labour pick, they're all scumbags.

Anonymous said...

Just why is it scandalous to point out that someone cannot speak English, particularly when that someone is in a position of considerable power? In the UK? Where the language of the legislature and the executive is legally English?

Luke Akehurst said...

So, a good job they didn't select "Mr. Ricin". The revelation of Jo Sidhu's job as a defender of those accused of terrorist plots against the UK mainland might have caused Labour some itsy-bitsy difficulties. Good job it was all hushed up and they chose the man who can't fill in his register of members' interests form, "Mr None", instead.

Unsworth said...

Vaz, eh? A man of immense probity. Anyone remember his slight embarrassment a few years ago? Still he's managed to rehabilitate himself or at least place a thin veneer over the surface.

Not a man whose judgement I would trust.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, not Keith Vaz!
I've just had to wash my mouse after clicking on this item.

Anonymous said...

Iain, as the anon who posted the first response can I say what an honour it is to be described as working for Labour HQ. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of your book and cut and paste your comment. I could then send it in with a pitch for a job there, although the 300 mile commute might make that tricky. So might the fact that I've voted Conservative at every election since I returned to live in my homeland nearly 20 years ago.

Seriously, I just thought it was a very unbalanced job by you, and not worthy of your normal standard. For someone wanting to pitch the Tories as a new brand I don't think the English language comment (whether yours or cut n' paste) was appropriate.

Many of us who have voted Conservatives are sick and tired of the silly spin that seems to be the hallmark of the Cameron project. Actually, hallmark isn't the right term as this has fake written all over it. Janet Daley hit the nail firmly on the head this week in the D.Tel - and spoke for many of us.

Anonymous said...

Sonika was the candidate for Amicus.

Trouble was that on the 3 person panel were 2 UNISON people (Vaz and Norma Stephenson its President) plus 1 Amicus (Mike Griffiths).

Anonymous said...

Anon@9.31 - I ask again, please, why was the comment about not speaking English 'inappropriate' - enlighten me?

Anonymous said...

"Just why is it scandalous to point out that someone cannot speak English, particularly when that someone is in a position of considerable power? In the UK? Where the language of the legislature and the executive is legally English?"

Simply not true. The UK does not have an official language. That's an unwritten constitution for you!
The only "legally" recognised language in the legislature is Norman French.

Anonymous said...

Jasvir Kaur

Must remember to keep copies of my blog postings on Labour Party blogs.

Posted last night that Sonika Nirwal and Gurcharan Singh were supposedly excluded from the short list as Labour Selection Panel (Vaz and co.) were worried about their (unkown) skeletons. Surely these can now be mentioned as they are not standing or are they as independents?

But what about Sharma's skeletons? Why did Vaz and other advisers keep quiet about these. Why are blog postings being prevented - worried that opposition parties may, will and should exploit.

Blackmail and direct association with right wing Hindu (terrorist) groups - VHP/RSS were mentioned. Sharma recently attended an RSS event and spoke (You Tube video to be made available). They were celebrating the birthday of an RSS leader who regarded HITLER as e hero and somebody he admired.

Anonymous said...

Jasvir Kaur

Let me take that back. The following has been posted on Tom Watson's blog:

Jasvir Kaur Says:
July 4th, 2007 at 9:11 pm

No turbaned Sikh or women in short list. Why were the local Labour Party members not trusted to vote for the person they wanted?

Elsewhere it is suggested Gurcharan Singh and Sonika Nirwal could have been exploited by the opposition parties. But what about Virendra Sharma’s associations, assuming he has been selected from the two?

What associations you ask - involvement in blackmail, links with Hindu right wing groups - recently at an event - video clip to appear on You Tube - where he praised RSS leader who said HITLER was his hero.

The selection panel were ill-advised - this may turn out to be a defeat for Labour - another gaff! Heads will roll!

Anonymous said...

The ins and outs of why certain folk were not let onto the shortlist is not something that can be published on Iain Dale's blog. However there were good reasons why what on the surface seemed to be good candidates did not get through the interview process but those reasons I am afraid must remain private.

Unsworth said...

Anon 9.07 AM.

If you are remotely interested in your comments being taken seriously it might be more sensible to give yourself a name. At present your views are simply those of yet another Anon, waffling on and bearing no credibility whatsoever.

As it stands, all this "I know, of course, but I am sworn to secrecy" or "The true story is yet to be revealed" etc is, quite simply, unrestrained bollocks.

Put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...


Thursday 5 July 2007


Around two weeks ago following the death of Piara Khabra, the MP for Ealing Southall, the race began for who would be the Labour Party candidate in the by election on 19 July. Last night it was confirmed the Labour candidate would be Cllr Virendra Sharma after the Labour Selection Panel, including Keith Vaz MP and Tom Watson MP decided on a remarkably short list, of two men on Tuesday afternoon. It is reported that fellow Labour MPs like Fiona Mactaggart were furious with the outcome and made their views known with the new Party Chair, Harriet Harman.

The Labour Party had already announced in March that it would adopt an all women’s short list with the front runner being Sonika Nirwal. However, as this was a by election and a candidate for Ealing Southall had yet to be announced to replace Piara Khabra, when he stepped down, his untimely death provided the Labour Party with an opportunity to open up the selection process.

The Labour Selection Panel reduced the estimated number of applicants for this safe Labour seat from perhaps as many as 100 to eight candidates on Monday evening. Publicly there were two fairly powerful lobbies – one to ensure a woman was selected and the other to get a Sikh into the Commons, preferably a turban wearing Sikh.

It is understood two of the eight on the long list were women – Sonika Nirwal and Jasbir Anand. Seven of the eight were Sikh, with three turban wearing Sikhs, including Cllr Gurcharan Singh who was widely acknowledged as the person with most support within the local Labour Party membership that would ultimately determine who represented them. Most, but not all, on the long list were local candidates. As there were candidates on the long list that were not local some are asking why excellent candidates, like Dr Harkirtan Singh, who has been short listed before in Denton and Reddish, were excluded on this occasion.

After interviews on Tuesday the Labour Selection Panel surprisingly only named two on the short list to take part in hustings that evening and who would be put to the local Labour Party membership. The hustings on Tuesday night were only for local Labour Party members and reports suggest they proved quite tense as there were many who were upset at the short list. The absence of a woman or turban wearing Sikh in the short list were two of the main concerns.

It has been reported that the Selection Panel wanted somebody similar to the Conservative candidate Tony Lit – “an Asian man with a ‘clean cut’ image”. However, it is been unofficially suggested that part of the thinking was that Sonika Nirwal and Gurcharan Singh had some sort of skeletons in the cupboard that the opposition parties might exploit in the by election. Similar allegations could be made against the candidate selected, but only time will tell what tactics and information the opposition parties use. It is interesting that Labour has chosen to keep media coverage of its chosen candidate very quiet.

As Labour has failed to allow a woman or turbaned Sikh to be in the short list there is a risk that an independent Labour candidate will now stand. Labour has brought this on itself. It has also not been lost on the Sikh community in Ealing Southall and throughout the UK that young Sikh professionals have been overlooked for the one ageing non-Sikh on the long list.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)