Update, July 24th: former adviser to Alistair Darling David Pinto-Duschinsky has been selected as the Labour candidate for Hendon.
Hendon constituency has been represented by Tory MP Matthew Offord since 2010, when he took the seat from Labour’s Andrew Dismore by just 106 votes. His majority has grown during his time in parliament, but has varied considerably from election to election – from 3,724 in 2015, to 1,072 in 2017, to 4,230 in 2019.
Prior to losing the seat in 2010, Dismore had represented Hendon for 13 years, first winning there during the Labour landslide of 1997, the year the constituency was first contested in its present form. The seat was announced as one of a second tranche of 21 seats in which the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) was allowed by the central party to get started on its selection process early. Given the constituency’s status as a bellwether – having been held by the party of government ever since its creation – it is unsurprising that it has been identified as a target.
Hendon is one of three seats that falls within the London borough of Barnet, where Labour saw some positive results at the local elections. The council had been held by the Conservatives for 20 years until Labour took 12 seats from the Tories in May, leaving them with 22 councillors and Labour 41. The borough has a large Jewish population and Labour said at the time that the party gaining the council shows “the progress Keir Starmer has made to regain the trust of Jewish voters”.
A shortlist of four candidates has now been finalised, and hustings are scheduled for 2pm on July 24th – after which local members will vote for who they want to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate.
The shortlist includes former law student, voluntary police offer and vice-chair of Cleveland branch Milad Amini. He is a senior parliamentary assistant for shadow minister James Murray, having previously worked for Steve Reed and then Rupa Huq.
Also on the list is Rita Begum, a Labour councillor in Brent, north west London. She stood as a Labour candidate in the London Assembly elections last year, coming 2,225 votes behind Conservative Tony Devenish in West Central constituency.
Nneka Keazor has made the final four. Keazor is a family solicitor. She served as a councillor on Enfield borough council for 12 years and a cabinet member for five but lost out to the Tories at the local elections in May.
Rounding out the list is David Pinto-Duschinsky, a former adviser to Alistair Darling under the last Labour government. He was chosen by members to stand in 2019, following a hotly contested selection process, but lost out to Offord by 4,230 votes.