Monday, 12 April 2010

Two timing politicans

Is there some kind of new expectation amongst London politicans that an unyet invented teleportation device will soon be available?  Why are so many of our local candidates standing in two wards/constituencies at the same time?  Why are they all being unfaithful, and two-timing London?  Don't we deserve more than that?  Is there so little casework involved in being a good local councillor that they feel they could sit in parliament as well as on Lambeth Council?

Jason Cobb already helpfully pointed out that the Labour Oval ward candidate, Jane Edbrooke, is standing as a candidate for Oval ward, and as a parlimentary candidate for East Hampshire!  (Hopefully, both sets of constituents will be unimpressed).

One of Twitter's Labour supporters, @Kieran Casey helpfully pointed out, as was already noted, that Joseph Healy is standing as a Green candidate for Princes Ward, and as a parlimentary candidate for Vauxhall!  (At least there's some geographical similarity there, but sadly the Vauxhall greens don't yet seem to have local policies in place for Princes/Oval, so chances of success are slim...)

But I wonder whether Kieran should have checked with his own party before pointing out the folly of others because, to top it off, Cllr Steven Morgan (current Labour incumbant in Princes ward) is now re-standing for Princes ward as well as standing as a parlimentary candidate for Orpington.  Of course, if you have the misfortune to dwell near Orpington, you'll know that you could pin a blue rosette on a monkey in that area, and everybody would still vote Conservative. However, if you've a long memory, you might remember that one of the blog's esteemed readers, Sid Boggle, raised this issue in the by-election here, when he said:

"I suppose the local party apparatchiks will be grooming their next 'second coming' to replace Steve Morgan, who I assume will stand down next year so he can fight Orpington."

No such luck... It seems it's acceptable these days to presume that voters will seriously consider candidates standing in two geographically distinct locations.  It's fine.  After all, Cllr Morgan's mum lives in Orpington, so she can probably tell him about important local issues.

Cllr Morgan responded to Sid Boggle, "Thanks for your view of my political future. I really am delighted that you think I am such a great campaigner that I will go to Orpington and take the Labour Party from 4,914 votes to over 26,718 votes to become the next MP."

Look out Orpington!


Cllr Stephen Morgan said...

What a disappointing entry in an otherwise good blog.

It is a shame that you did not even extend me the common courtesy that most journalists extend to those who they are going to write about, before publishing this article.

If you had asked for my views on the subject then I could have told you the following. In terms of helping the most people I am the third hardest working councillor in Lambeth. Since being elected, I have helped 1,975 people. The only councillors who do more than me is the leader and deputy leader of the council who cover all 21 wards in Lambeth and not just 1.

A LibDem councillor in Oval did 89 cases and a councillor in Bishops did 81 cases during the same time period, just to give you an example of how much work the LibDems do in the North of the Borough.

So I am sure we can all agree I am a hard worker for the people of Kennington. I do 2-3 hours of council work every day, I also have a full time 9-5 job and I spend time in the ward canvassing and campaigning for the Labour Party (all year round and not just at election time).

I hope we can also all agree that any elected politician deserves some R&R. But what should I do with my free time on a Saturday? Shall I go to the cinema or an art gallery for a few hours, or should I go down to Orpington to speak with the voters there?

This article has put 2 and 2 together and made 5. It does not matter what politicians wish to do with their personal time, be it art galleries or canvassing people. All that matters is what job they have done.

Perhaps you, and the readers of the site, can let me know whether I have worked hard enough as your local councillor, or whether helping 1,975 people is not enough?

SE11 Lurker said...

Cllr Morgan,

I do not dispute that you work hard. Indeed, I even commented recently that I was impressed by the number of emails received from you, and another recent post noted that you responded on planning matters, so no question is being raised about your dedication to your past work in Princes ward.

I'd be really interested to know how I can find out more about the stats that you quote about Lambeth Councillors and the people/cases they work on. You quote some figures about other local councillors' caseloads, and I'd like to be able to quote them on the blog. How many people have Cllrs Campbell and Haarrison helped in the same period?

I did not ask for your views on the subject because I am merely commenting on information that is already in the public domain. I don't have to ask for your views on the subject because the post wasn't specifically about you. I think Jason has been considerably more acerbic! I am concerned that either the Orpington campaign or the Princes Ward campaign will not receive sufficient attention.

What I am asking is whether you would still be able to do 2-3 hours work each day for Princes Ward, and help 1,975 people, if you were also elected as MP for Orpington?

Do you dispute that you are a parliamentary candidate in Orpington? The web page about it is here:

Is it incorrect?

I couldn't put this point any better than Jason Cobb who noted, "A General Election isn’t a work experience opportunity for an aspirational career politician." Perhaps all I might add is that A General Election /should not be/ a work experience opportunity!

However, I can see that it might be difficult attempting to gain a parliamentary seat, and that you have to do this in several "no hope" areas for sometime. I've actually no issue with that. I do wish that you'd made it transparent to the residents of Princes Ward that you'd also be standing in Orpington.

Jason Cobb said...

Impressive stats. As @SE11_lurker states - how can we validate these please?

One stat that is beyond question is that Councillor Morgan attended five out of the ten full council meetings in the past political year.

Only one other Councillor in Lambeth has a worse record than this.

Source: FOI request -

Anonymous said...

If you are in the labour party which dominates the council with a comfortable majority of councillors, it's not surprising that you might not feel the need to attend every council meeting. especially after you have been a councillor for a long time. It doesn't make it right but you can kind of understand it on a human level. a councillor might assume that the interests of princes ward will be represented by fellow labour councillors in other wards

Cllr Stephen Morgan said...


Thank you for the endorsement as a hard working councillor for the people of Kennington & Vauxhall.

“I don't have to ask for your views on the subject because the post wasn't specifically about you.” – Half the entry was dedicated to me so not sure that is true

“I am concerned that either the Orpington campaign or the Princes Ward campaign will not receive sufficient attention.” – perhaps you would like to come out on the campaign trail with me next week as you do not seem to fully understand how a campaign works?

“What I am asking is whether you would still be able to do 2-3 hours work each day for Princes Ward, and help 1,975 people, if you were also elected as MP for Orpington?” – IF I overturn a 20,000 majority I am pretty sure I could do anything.

“Do you dispute that you are a parliamentary candidate in Orpington?” – No. Have I ever?

“A General Election /should not be/ a work experience opportunity” – Why? 1000s of councillors do it for every single party.

Jason Cobb

“One stat that is beyond question is that Councillor Morgan attended five out of the ten full council meetings in the past political year.” – True, on 5 occasions I had other events I had to attend. However Lorna and/or Mark were able to attend and represent the people of Princes Ward in my absence.

That is why there are 3 councillors, one of us is at the council meeting, another is at a residents meeting and the other is home doing some casework. Are two of us not doing our jobs as we are doing other council stuff and not at an official council meeting you can FOI?


Agree with your view, but it is due to having to do other events rather than not being bothered. Although I did miss an Environment Committee meeting due to having man flu once.

Jason Cobb said...

"Thousands of Cllr's" may be doing it for every other party, but I can't find any evidence in Lambeth of parties other than @LambethLabour that are flipping wards and constituencies.

Three Labour candidates in Lambeth have greater political ambitions elsewhere:

I would welcome any evidence of other parties in the borough that endorse the work experience scheme for career politicians.

This is a key matter. I vote in my democratically electable representatives so that they can serve me. If they want to bugger off elsewhere, then so be it. Not under my endorsement though.

Sid Boggle said...

I'll vouch for Steve Morgan's efforts on behalf of his ward constituents. Compared To Sam Townend, AKA The Invisible Man, and Lorna Campbell (who is a Cabinet Member, and so I don't suppose picks up as large a constituent caseload), he's put the hours in.

It's just a shame that he wants to climb the greasy pole, even if he's no chance of winning this time around.

Cllr Stephen Morgan said...


A few LibDem examples for you.

Cllr Darren Sanders in Portsmouth North this year -

Cllr Peter Truesdale in Upminster in 2005 -

Former Cllr Keith Fitchett in Ashford in 2001 -

Formwe Cllr Charles Anglin in 2005 -

Former Cllr Sandra Lawman in 2005 -

Cllr Steve Morgan said...


Thanks for the endorsement as a hard worker.

Can I be climbing the greasy pole if I am seeking to turn over a 20,000 majority? surely it would have been much easier to wait for a safe Labour seat to turn up?


Jason Cobb said...

Sorry Cllr Morgan - you'll have to do better than that.

Cllr Sanders is *not* standing as a local Lambeth Councillor this year: [pdf]

Cllr Sanders decided that standing as both a local councillor, *and* a PPC candidate was a bit of cheek, and so so is concentrating on one role.

My question was to find examples of parties, other than Lambeth Labour, that have the front to stand for election twice at the election in 2010.

Keep looking...

Cllr Stephen Morgan said...


"I can't find any evidence in Lambeth of parties other than @LambethLabour that are flipping wards and constituencies"

You did not mention it had to be at this particular election. Seems like you are ignoring evidence if it does not fit what you believe.


Jason Cobb said...

Well - there's the fresh challenge for today: Are there any other candidates, apart from Jane Edbrooke, Cllr Sabharwal and your good self, who would rather be at Westminster than Lambeth Town Hall on May 7th?

Cllr Stephen MOrgan said...


Darren Sanders - Lambeth councillor since 2002. Contested Portsmouth North 2001, Streatham 2005

"Cllr Sanders decided that standing as both a local councillor, *and* a PPC candidate was a bit of cheek, and so so is concentrating on one role."

Why did he not think this in 2005 then?

Cllr Steve Morgan said...


I am busy helping the residents of Kennington & Vauxhall this evening, as I do most evenings and weeends, so I do not have time to do this piece of research.

Interesting to note you are ignoring the LibDems in the past that have done this....


Jason Cobb said...

Um, not really. I only really got into this La La Lambeth Land blogging about six months ago.

I can't say I count the LibDems as my friends:

Good luck with the campaign. Both in Lambeth, and Orpington.

Sid Boggle said...


Let's not pull each other's legs about how this works.

Mr. Tony tried to start his parliamentary career in a safe Tory seat (Beaconsfield) - he lost his deposit.

Unless you drop a total bollock, you'll be on somebody's radar in the Labour Party. There are worse things you could be doing between general elections, than be a ward councillor...

SE11 Lurker said...

Cllr Morgan,

I really would like to know how I can obtain the stats. re the number of constituents each Councillor has helped. Yours are highly impressive, and clearly demonstrate evidence of hard work. Can you advise where I can obtain them from?

Anonymous said...

Steven Morgan I resent your dallying with Orpington almost as much as I resent your atttiude on this blog.

a) Expectation that a blog author would feel in ANY way obliged to contact you.

b) Your trite comments in reply to the very people you are already entrusted to represent. You are after all a sitting incumbent.

c) Your committment to SE11 is flimsy on the back of your interest in Orpington and non performace in attending council meetings.

Shameful. You ought to more contrite, and offer an apology to the residents of Princes' Ward.

Awful Cllr. So poor.

Kennington Lane

Cllr Stephen Morgan said...


I believe the stats were first provided in June last year due to an FOI request, so there should not be a problem in getting them to you.

I expect the end of financial year stats by the weekend so I will send them to you when i have them so you have the most up to date version.

best wishes


Steve said...

I think it is a real shame that everyone seems to be hedging their bets - especially with all the distrust the community has in politicians right now.

We have to support true community champions and not career politicians who only tow the party line rather than truly represent the interests of residents, businesses and visitors to our Wards.

I also notice that for all the mud slinging that has already started, that no-one is noticing the U-turn on the ALMO? Another waste of millions of our money.

I for one have very little expectation in Councilors of any party now.

Maybe we need to reduce the number of seats for each ward to one - make it a full time job - make the elected Councillor fully accountable and let residents/local businesses the right to ask them to step down if they fail to do their job.

Having everyone "part time" doesn't work.. Cllr Morgan can more enquiries than most because he has the time at the moment. Other Councillors work in other full time jobs. And the number of enquiries is not a real way of benchmarking success. Many of those enquiries are simply forwarding an email to an officer and then passing on the reply to the person.

The system doesn't really work in its current format and I for one would really welcome a fresh approach by all of the candidates to tell us the truth, what they will do for us, how they can change the inefficient council and STOP slaggin each other off.

Step up to the plate.


Anonymous said...

I would like to back up Annonymous as Cllr Morgan did notning to help Council residents in Princes when the council were cutting the concierge services and putting peoples safety at risk. He did not ever come back to the meetings.

I attended the North Lambeth leaseholder meeting and Cllr Campbell said she would take away some case work and come back to the forum - she has not set foot in the meetings again.

Cllr Harrison only joined the various TRA and TMOs because he wanted to foward his career. He also claimed to have stopped the rent increases....... He did not. He also claimed that he was the reason service charges estimates for leaseholders were recalculated. He was not. We all know that was Steve Rice, a true community champion.

Why cant we get him to stand? He seems to actually do the work the Councillors should do and isn't getting any salary.

He would get so many votes!

Cllr Harrison also backed the ANC taking on the old Lillian Bayliss site for their proposed Super Church. We already have the problems with parking and noise pollution caused by their congregation and he backed creating more problems against residents wishes!

Sid Boggle said...

@ Steve: Believe me, as a Lambeth tenant who has to live with the colossal ineptitude of Lambeth Living, the Labour manifesto position is going to be followed up.

How about that, Steve Morgan? I see Lambeth Labour don't say much about having foisted the ALMO on tenants and leaseholders. What benchmarks are you setting for 'success'? What contingency arrangements will be in place if you have to run the management and board out of the borough? How does that pledge square with the promise to spend £8,000 per tenanted property to bring them up to, I assume, Decent Homes standard? What about strategic repairs on neglected estates?

Joseph said...

I have been accused of being too "internationalist" and also two timing by standing in Princes Ward and Vauxhall.

Firstly, as I wrote on my blog, Greens have always taken a global view - "Think globally, act locally". I have written and campaigned about issues which are impacting on the electorate of Vauxhall. The massive almost imperial defence expenditure of this country is having a direct impact on cuts affecting local hospitals and schools and soon council services. I have been an anti-war campaigner and my party and I both believe that the Afghan war is an unmitigated disaster in every sense. The sums being spent on all of this and Trident are astronomical. The other parties want to ignore this issue and not connect up the dots. One of the reasons why Nick Clegg did so well in last night's debate was by bringing up the Trident expenditure issue. But he did not address the Afghan war which is also bleeding the country dry.

I have also written about the LGBT community in Vauxhall, which is an important element of the community and one of the issues which I am campaigning on is hate crime - where stats show that homophobic hate crime has increased dramatically in Lambeth over the last year. Also as someone working with disabled people - who are never mentioned by anyone else - the rise in hate crime against them also. I work in the borough an visit many disabled and older people in their homes in Vauxhall and Princes ward -so I am aware of the housing and social care issues which they face.

As regards standing in Princes - I stood there in the last by election and am aware of many of the issues in the ward. I may have only received 7% of the vote but my party is not supported by rich businessmen nor by trade unions and we have nothing like the resources nor the numbers of people to put leaflets out to every house etc. I met Labour canvassers at that by election from Southend and staffers from Labour think tanks - one of whom told me, just two days before he resigned, that Purnell was the next Labour Party Leader!

So I accept fair criticism but you are not comparing like with like and you should try and judge the party by its policies and the fact that as a non-professional politician, I am genuinely campaigning for some of the groups in society who I feel need support.

Finally, a parliamentary candidate is not a 'super councillor' and needs to have a view on national and international issues. I would stand up for the people of Vauxhall but remember that a lot of the constraints and problems for local government stem from the dysfunctional national system and the fact that local government has been shorn of much of its powers by the Thatcher government. New Labour did nothing to address that democratic deficit.

SE11 Lurker said...

Thanks for responding.

Perhaps your two timing might be overlooked since there is at least some geographical similarity between the two areas in which you're standing :)

I agree that globalisation makes it necessary to look at the "bigger picture", but it would be useful to hear how, for example, the Greens will spend public money, given the likely cuts that will need to be made across all London councils. Do you support the John Lewis model of running a council, or would you argue that council services need to be council run? (If the latter, where would you vote to cut costs?) If you were to gain power in Princes ward, there's no way that you could reverse decisions on the Trident, but the electorate need to know how you might handle matters of local governance. Have you any ideas on the future of the former Lilian Baylis? Would you turn it into a community hub? Are you more inclined to sell it off and find a developer to develop for public and private good? What are your views on the continued development in Vauxhall, and what sort of housing targets would you set? Do you know about the Mayor's plans for Nine Elms, and how would you seek to influence the direction of the development?

7% of the vote is something that can be built on, with local support. One piece of useful information that you could provide is more detail about the other two Green candidates in Princes ward. Any of the blog readers could vote for them, but right now, we don't know how they've been involved in local issues/campaigns and we don't know anything about the way that you (and they) would govern. Could you fill in some of the blanks? Why not write a strategy for Princes ward that touches on local issues? It wouldn't take too long to improve on the current quality of all-party campaign literature!

I posted only yesterday (when discussing Hoey headquarters) on how the resources of Labour and the Tories far outweigh smaller parties, so I'm not unsympathetic over the issue of people/funding. I do think, though, that grassroots campaigns which seek to involve local people can still produce decent politicians, even in the face of large party opposition.

Joseph said...

I think that empty properties - 20% of empties in London are in Lambeth should be brought into use. I support giving council tenants rent free periods to repair empty properties, which would free up a lot of stock and also create employment.

On Nine Elms, I think a cautious agreement with the development would be the right approach, but without seeing the details it can't yet be any more. The Mayor is talking about homes and jobs - how many of the homes will be affordable, and how many of the jobs suitable for local people?

Given that the Mayor doesn't support transport policies such as the extended tram, what will the developers incorporate to stop traffic and road congestion in Nine Elms and Vauxhall.

I personally detest the eyesore that is St. Georges at Vauxhall and would hate to see further developments of its ilk. I don't see how that development has significantly added to the economy or benefit of the people of Lambeth either (it has given the council some shiny new offices I believe).

The North of the borough needs similar kind of investments to areas like Loughborough Junction, encouraging small businesses while protecting the individual character of areas like Little Portugal in Stockwell. Areas like SE11 are as neglected.

On Lilian Baylis - I was opposed to its use by a religous organisation which would not be open to all. Again, would rather see it developed in a way that retains ownership for the people of Lambeth.

On the much touted 'John Lewis' council model being touted by Labour, I remain very suspicious that this is just a cost cutting exercise dressed up as a new idea - mutton dressed as lamb. I am against thousands of local authority jobs being cut, especially frontline staff. I also question why details of this scheme are not put to the electors of Lambeth now and why they are being kept deliberately vague. Also why has it taken Lambeth Labour 4 years to come up with this and only on the eve of the election.

Finally, I am very concerned about the closure of small local pubs with the resulting loss of community venues, especially for many older people. I support the GMB and CAMRA's Fair Pint campaign.

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Vauxhall and Candidate for Princes Ward.

SE11 Lurker said...


Thanks for the outline. I'm impressed, to the extent that you managed entirely positive policies without slagging off the other parties.

Maybe you could get something more formal written for the Princes Ward candidates (I've had no green literature at all). It would be great to get that codified, and I'm sure you'd find some local support.

Anonymous said...

worth a cross link to Jason Cobb, who shows that Cllr Morgan has (jointly) the WORST attendance record in Lambeth for Council meetings, but claimed his full attendance allowance nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Morgan may be inclined to respond and correct the above incorrect reading of Jason Cobb's table.

He in fact only has the SECOND WORST attendance record in Lambeth. May I pre-empt our "third hardest working councillor" by offering congratulations on this achievement.

SE11 Lurker said...

Since I don't entirely trust the Lib Dems not to be trash-talking via anonymous comments, I'm going to defend Cllr Morgan by saying that I have received 60 emails from him over the past year.

He might not be a great meeting attender, but he's certainly active. On the other hand, I have absolutely no idea what Cllr Campbell has done in the Princes Ward area over the last three years. I know she's been ill recently, but I'd like to hear about the corners that she has fought locally prior to that. To be fair to them, both Cllr Steve Morgan and Cllr Mark Harrison have responded to criticism and been visible and vocal on this blog and in public. The Lib Dems have failed to put forward even one local candidate.

I'm always worried that Council Cabinet members don't pull their weight locally, so let's hear from Cllr Campbell.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for a reply and perhaps his apology for double standing, splitting committment... from CLLR STEPHEN MORGAN...

i am a resident of kennington.

do you want to gain the votes of local people?
Why are you standing in another area? Be explicit. Be forthcoming

Cllr Stephen Morgan said...

Anonymous - Since you are a resident of Kennington send your contact details to and I will pop round to discuss with you.


Anonymous said...

Cllr Stephen Morgan

Your response is the arrogance i have complained about in an earlier comment - by god, now you invite yourself to my home!!!

***Please, outline and be contrite as to why you choose to waste the time of either Kennington residents OR Orpington residents because you cannot be in two places at once or offer honest comittments via manifestos or otherwise.***

do you want to gain the votes of local people?

Why are you standing in another area? Be explicit.

Be forthcoming

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting for several weeks for Mr Morgan to come door knocking in Kennington, so that I can walk him down Stannary Street to count the dozens of pot holes.

Now I realise he only campaigns by appointment. Silly me.

Michael said...

Dear Anonymous
Your bluff has been called - you have a chance to have a one to one dialogue with Cllr Morgan and still protect your secret identity.
If I was you I would take up the offer, I can testify that on the two occasions that I have requested his assistance on Council matters, I was more than impressed with the response that I received.

Sid Boggle said...

Labour are the only lot to have canvassed the estate where I live. of course, we never see Tories - they might stick a leaflet in. The Lib Dems haven't produced even a leaflet for Princes/Vauxhall yet.

You anonymous posters would stand your arguments up much better if you didn't shoot from behind your anonymity.

Anonymous said...



There is no bluff.

I have asked for contrite apology and forthcoming explanation.
Not a political answer.

No trolling.

Just clear answers that can be undersood by all.

I ask in the interest of kennington and orpington residents.

If Cllr Stephen Morgan could reply that would be great.

@SidBoggle My annonymity iswhat I choose as a private person - Cllrs choose a public 'career', hence my option to remain private and insistance that we have a answers to .

do you want to gain the votes of local people?
Why are you standing in another area? Be explicit. Be forthcoming"

Annonymous SE11 4**
Kennington Resident

Cllr Stephen Morgan said...

"I have been waiting for several weeks for Mr Morgan to come door knocking in Kennington, so that I can walk him down Stannary Street to count the dozens of pot holes."

I was delivering leaflets there on Friday morning and I will be doing some door knocking in the area tomorrow. Give me a call and we can meet to have a walk around. 07985 735 849.


Arun Marsh said...

Interesting discussion - I think it's important to remember that many councillors have day jobs.

So if you are going to question Cllr Morgan on how he will find time to concentrate on his ward while working as an MP elsewhere, you should ask (E.G.)cllr Fred Bloggs how on earth will he find time to help residents when he has to run his own accountancy firm for example.

I work for a site which allows residents to use twitter to find their local representatives and speak to them on there if you are interested?

Anonymous said...

What did you tell them?

Dear Neighbours,

I just wanted to let you know that last night Lorna, Mark & I were re-elected to Lambeth Council for another 4 years.

Labour also won a majority of seats on the council and so will be the administration for the next 4 years.

Many thanks to you if you voted - whoever you voted for

All the best


Cllr Stephen Morgan

Labour & Co-operative Councillor for Princes Ward

c/o Lambeth Town Hall

Brixton Hill

London SW2 1RW

Tel: 020 7820 6664

Mob: 07985 735 849



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