Who will replace Nick Forbes and Alice Perry as local government NEC reps?

Sienna Rodgers

Nick Forbes from Newcastle and Alice Perry from Islington, the incumbent councillor reps on Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), are both standing down once their terms have been completed in September.

Forbes, the leader of Newcastle City Council and leader of the Local Government Association Labour group, was recently deselected as a councillor for Arthur’s Hill. He will be stepping down as council leader on May 5th.

Perry, a deputy LGA Labour whip and the current NEC chair, recently announced that she will not standing for re-election as a councillor in May. “After 11 amazing years as a councillor, I’ve decided to stand down in May,” she tweeted.

“I’m so proud of everything we have achieved. I’m staying on the Labour NEC until my term ends in September and look forward to having a few drinks at conference and sharing some stories!”

LabourList can reveal that left-wing activist network Momentum is endorsing two councillors – Matt White of Haringey and Aneesa Akbar of Hull – to be the local government representatives on Labour’s NEC.

Matt White has been a Haringey Labour councillor since 2018. He says he has worked to “radically change” the council’s approach, from building council homes at council rents to insourcing services.

Aneesa Akbar was also elected for the first time in 2018. She says she is the only BAME woman serving on Hull City Council and pledges to represent councillors “from underrepresented backgrounds” if elected.

Momentum is first off the blocks in announcing its candidates, who are also being backed by the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour Councillors.

Labour to Win is expected to support those who emerge from the rest of the local government world. The successful NEC council reps often come from LGA Labour and are favoured by the organisation.

It is customary for councillors to back the LGA Labour leader for one of the two local government places on the NEC, though this is not compulsory and has not always been the case.

LabourList understands that there is significant support for Michael Payne, a Gedling councillor and deputy leader of LGA Labour, to replace Forbes both as the next LGA Labour leader and as a Labour NEC rep.

According to LabourList sources, there is also backing for Arooj Shah, leader of Oldham Council, to win a councillor place on the NEC. She was the first Muslim woman to take charge of a council in the north of England.

Like incumbent Alice Perry, Shah has been outspoken about abuse – particularly of a racist and misogynist type – received by those serving in local government. She experienced a firebomb attack on her car last year.

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