Resistance in Hampstead and Kilburn over minute’s silence for Tessa Jowell

NOBODY wants to admit defeat but it’s a tough job trying to work out what exactly went on behind closed doors at the recent constituency meeting of Labour members in Hampstead and Kilburn. To say there are disputes about the direction of travel within the group, however, is not a wild bet.

Even the issue of whether members should stand for a period of silence to remember Tessa Jowell, the former Camden councillor who went on to become the Culture Secretary in the New Labour governments, was a matter of some dispute. Sources said they were distressed to hear muttering and mumbling as the peace was broken during this time for reflection. Some, around five, were unwilling to take part at all in marking the passing of a politician who had worked closely with Tony Blair.

Members, by several accounts, then asked for another’s minute of silence, after a call of ‘what about the people of Gaza’ rang out; the meeting was a couple of days after the border shootings by Israeli forces.

It’s all very tense partly because the internal warring relates to an ongoing debate over the number of delegates who will be sent to the party’s conference in Liverpool later this year, where disputed party rule changes and organisational matters are due to be up for debate. Hampstead and Kilburn has resolved to send ten if it can raise the £7,000 cost of doing so.

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