Who will be Labour’s candidate in Feltham and Heston?

23rd November, 2011 4:45 pm

This morning we told you that the Labour Party is conducting a quickfire selection process for the vacant seat of Feltham and Heston, following the untimely death of Alan Keen last week. The polling day looks likely to be December 15th and the selection process will be completed by Sunday.

With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the candidates who will be in the frame for the selection. Here are the candidates we’re aware of so far (in alphabetical order). Who would you choose? If you know someone else who is standing email us.

Update: We’re hearing that only 7 candidates have been shortlisted. We’re also told that several candidates were informed by 6pm last night – only an hour after applications closed – that they hadn’t made the shortlist.

Update: We now know the names of three of the shortlisted candidates – details below – we understand there’s a fourth shortlisted candidate. We’ll post their details when we have them.

Dawn Butler was MP for Brent South from 2005- 2010, and was Minister for Young Citizens and Youth Engagement in the Cabinet Office. After her seat was abolished in boundary changes she went on to fight the new Brent Central constituency which she lost to Lib Dem Sarah Teather. Before she was an MP, Butler worked for the GMB and as an adviser to Ken Livingstone.[Update: We now understand that Butler didn’t put herself forward for selection].

Parmjit Dhanda was the Labour MP for Gloucester from 2001 until 2010 and held several junior positions within the government. He’s popular with his former colleagues in the PLP, but so far no former MPs have even made a shortlist for a by-election selection – if he’s to get selected, that’s the biggest hurdle that he’ll need to overcome.[We understand that Dhanda has not been longlisted].

Ranjit Dheer is a Labour councillor for Dormers Wells ward in Ealing, and is the Deputy Leader of the council. He’s responsible for policy on crime and disorder reduction, including anti-social behaviour, community safety, drugs action, hate crime and domestic violence.  He also works on community cohesion, equality and diversity, and refugees and asylum seekers. [We understand that Dheer has been shortlisted].

Colin Ellar was the leader of Hounslow council from 2004-6 and was Mayor of Hounslow last year. Ellar has an unusual background for a politician – joining soul group Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band in the 1960s, working as an English teacher and translator in Italy.He has also lived in Amsterdam, where he met his wife of 20 years. He lives in a Housing Association property in the constituency and previously worked for Alan Keen.[We understand that Ellar has not been longlisted].

Robert Evans is former a MEP (and Brent East candidate). His office was based in Feltham for nine years, he grew up locally and at the time of his election as an MEP he was a primary headteacher in Hanworth, (in the constituency). In addition he have strong links with the Asian community through his extensive South Asia work in Brussels.[We understand that Evans has not been longlisted].

Kamaljeet Jandu is the BAME Labour national chair, a Punjabi speaking Sikh and an economist. He’s currently a GMB National Officer for Equality but has also worked in the private sector for Ford. He lived in Heston between 1994 and 2003, and led a campaign to improve working conditions for Asian women cleaners at Heathrow.[We understand that Jandu has been shortlisted].

Seema Malhotra grew up in Feltham, and went to school in Heston. She is co-founder and Director of the Fabian Womens Network and a former National Chair of the Fabian Society, as well as a former adviser to Harriet Harman during her stint as leader of the opposition last year.[We understand that Malhotra has been shortlisted].

Ed Mayne, aged 26, is the youngest candidate to declare so far. Ed got elected in the marginal Isleworth ward, in the neighbouring constituency of Brentford & Isleworth, in the 2010 local elections which led to Labour retaking control of Hounslow Council. On being elected, he immediately joined the Council Cabinet with responsible for Community Safety. Born in the borough, he has campaigned across London having served on the London Young Labour Committee. A member of Unite and TSSA, Ed works for Gatwick Express. [We understand that Mayne has not been longlisted].

Dr Onkar Sahota is a local candidate with strong connections within the community. At the last election he acted as an aide to neighbouring MP Virendra Sharma. His local links are strengthened further by being a GP in an area that includes a large proportion of the Feltham and Heston constituency.

Jagdish Sharma is the leader of Hounslow Council, and would surely receive the public support of local councillors. He’d be a strong candidate for the seat – if he stands, but as yet it’s not clear whether or not he plans to stand or not.[We understand that Sharma has not been longlisted].

Tulip Siddiq was born in the UK but spent her childhood in 7 different countries. Last year, she won her council seat in one of London’s most diverse boroughs and was immediately put in the cabinet. Rumour has it that officers on the council refer to her as ‘small but fiery’. She’s worked for Amnesty International, Philip Gould Associates and the Greater London Authority. She currently works in corporate social responsibility.

Greg Williams was a high performing candidate in both the 2010 General Election and 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections. He moved to the constituency in August for his work with BP. Their office campus is part of the constituency – and BP is a big local employer.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]

  • Anonymous

    All seem to be hard working class people.

    • Joe Kilker

      Treborc, fancy meeting you here! We need to ‘touch base’ about what they’ve done to the Public Whip. Do you post on The Broken of Britain site?

      This would be Parmjit Dhanda’s dream job, after he zipped all the way down from London in the first place to grab the Gloucester nomination following Tess Kingham standing down (and if he could persuade the Gloucester PLP  to pick him over perfectly adequate local choices, don’t rule him out for this contest).

      He could probably even make a half decent fist of  justifying bailing out of Gloucester. As it is, his history in our constituency is a bit of a millstone in challenging a sitting MP who would actually be eminently challeng[e?]able by the right person (although she quit the Labour party after they treated her as badly as Westminster treated Tess).

      • Anonymous

        Yes I go around a bit on disability sites…..

        But yes to many career politicians are around these days seeking seats.

        And most of them only do it because they cannot do anything else.

  • Chris

    Obviouslly, Seema Malhotra or Parmjit Dhanda.

    No relationship with the constituency but friends in high places

    • Kaj

      Seema was born in the borough so a (just a small) relationship with the constituency then! And campaigned for Alan to get first elected in 1992 too.

  • Daniel Speight

    A member of the Ram Jam Band, wow! For younger readers Geno Washington is the Geno sung about in the Dexy’s Midnight Runners song. For even younger readers the Ram Jam Club was a mod club in Brixton. No one will be able to accuse Colin of being PPE SPAD apparatchik clone.

    • Anonymous

      True one working class lad then…..

      • Daniel Speight


        • Anonymous

          Soldier councillor doctors, the soldier is the only one I suspect that can be classed as working for the min wage in the army, a councillor who I suspect may be  so called working class do not know enough about him, then you have people who have travelled the country looking for a seat,and an aid, and I suspect parachutes may be deployed.

          • John Ruddy

            Which one is the soldier?

            You admit you dont know enough abotu the candidates, and yet presume to decide whether they are “working class”?

          • Anonymous

            Ex…. well I can read what’s written here, and knowing what leaders are like I suspect Miliband will have his choice.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      @ Derek,

      the “Ram Jam Inn” is on the A1 between Stamford and Grantham, and I think was the inspiration for the band’s name when they were touring (they stayed there on several occasions).  Ram Jam was the name of a beer that the landlord produced in the 18th century.  They do a good pepper steak, and better lamb cutlets, but it is too far away for a meal trip from home, and too near to home to be a proper stop off on longer journeys.

      • Daniel Speight

        I saw that was what Wikipedia says Jaime. That would leave the Ram Jam Club formally at 390 Brixton Road either being named after the band or possibly that Wikipedia has it wrong. A third possibility would be they have nothing in common, except for Geno playing at the Ram Jam Club.

        Is there a ska expert in the house?

        • Daniel Speight

          And a quick bit of research shows it was the club being named after the band, and that possibly there should be no gap between the Ram and the Jam for either, as in Ramjam. Then again I guess it doesn’t really matter Jaime.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          You may well be right Danny.  I only know of the older use for the name, not the Brixton club.  The Ram Jam Inn is among about 10 old pubs and restaurants that are on the route from London to York that used to be for changes of horses on the stop coach, and grew famous then.  There is a photograph of the band in a corridor there, along with other photos of famous people who stayed at the inn.  

          Another is the Bell Inn in Stilton, which is much closer to us and is very famous for the cheese.  The landlord there was married to the sister of a cheese maker in Leicestershire whose farm was a long way from the big routes so could not sell much.  When the sister agreed to market the cheese to London and York and to stop coach passengers, it became well known and the cheese called “Stilton”, even though it is perhaps 50 miles from where it is made.  They do some good food as well even now.  I really enjoy these old bits of British history.

  • Would love to see

  • Kaj

    How about Elizabeth Hughes, a local councillor?

  • John Ruddy

    I can say that Greg is a hard working candidate and he did well in May against the tide of the SNP.

  • Ph11rcb

    Ed Mayne is the true future for Feltham and Heston. A young, experienced person with the benefits of juggling a job as a train ticket inspector with the political experience of being a Cabinet member on Hounslow Council. Ed is a vigorous campaigner who commits himself to causes he believes in, such as canvassing locally, when he completed a charity bike ride from London to Edinburgh, raising over £2000 from people he did not know, in sponsorship for Cancerbackup. Without a shadow of doubt, Ed Mayne is next generation candidate, ready to be Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston. That’s why Labour MUST select an inspiring candidate FROM HOUNSLOW.

  • Ed Mayne or Colin Ellar sound particularly good to me. 

  • Dear Mark

    Who did the long/shortlisting?

    • Anonymous

      Shortlisting will be by an NEC panel today. As for longlisting, I’ve asked the party to explain the process. I’ll post the result (or lack thereof).

      • Dear Mark

        We need to renew campaign to get CLP representatives involved in whole selection process, whether by-election, or fast-track ahead of an election.


  • Redshift

    Presumably if you know when some were informed by, you at least know one or two of those that have been eliminated? 

  • a_m

    Parmjit is a very good choice, he was a local organiser in the neighbouring seat before becoming an MP, he speaks Punjabi and I know from personal experience what a good job he did in the Ealing Southall By election.

  • Joe Kilker

    Now should it be ‘PLP’, for Parliamentary Labour Party, or ‘CLP, for Constituency Labour Party?


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