Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs column has run some negative items about mass deselections of Labour councillors in Barking and Dagenham in recent issues. But their current issue reports that "Labour's cull of east London councillors has moved on to Newham." Around 20 of the 54 Labour councillors will not be standing next year – at least seven being deselected with others jumping before being pushed.
The magazine, sounds rather more enthusiastic about these deselections and quotes "London Labour Party supremo Ken Clark" as telling them: "Being a Labour councillor is not a job for life. Nobody will be nodded through." The Eye then adds: "He is now turning his attention to Tower Hamlets. And sharpening his knife."
These don't sound like terribly localist deselections. It also sounds suspicously likely that at least some councillors have been deselected not because they are lazy or incompetent but because they are in the wrong faction. But Clark does have a point. Sitting councillors should not just be nodded through to reselection.
Are Conservative Associations too nice to deselect their councillors?