Thursday, 25 March 2010
Bob Blackman has announced he won't be standing in Harrow East MP. However this means the Tories will go into the council election fight with a leader who will have his mind on other matters, and who won't be there to pick up the pieces after the election. Will there be moves to replace him before May 6th?
It will mean that Tory candidates will be fighting with one eye on the upcoming leadership battle and jostling for position. Cllr John Detre (Northwick Park) has already thrown his hat in the ring.
Atiq Malik, standing as an Independent in the Brent North Parliamentary constituency (where I am also a candidate) is one of two Conservative councillors (the other is Robert Dunwell) who formed the Democratic Conservative Group, following disagreements over Blackman's leadership. Blackman was also indirectly criticised by Merrick Cockell, Chairman of London Councils, after he failed to win against Navin Shah in the London Assembly elections in 2008. Cockell said then, "Internal divisions have certainly had an effect and if you are not pulling together defeat is what happens."
A month before the election the Evening Standard had reported accusations by black Conservative Party members that they had been treated in an 'insensitive and unsympathetic way' when trying to attend a local party meeting in Brent North.
Blackman survived an attempt at deselection in Harrow East in 2008 because of his 'underperformance' at the Assembly elections. At the time Conservative Home reported that Conservative HQ were 'disappointed' that deselection wasn't successful.