Update, November 19th: NEF chief executive Miatta Fahnbulleh has been selected as the next candidate for Camberwell and Peckham.
Update, November 8th: A shortlist of four has now been confirmed: Southwark councillor Evelyn Akoto, youth charity assistant director Peter Babudu, NEF chief executive Miatta Fahnbulleh and senior adviser to the mayor of London Johnson Situ.
Update, October 15th: The longlist for Camberwell and Peckham has be announced as: London Assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark Marina Ahmad, Southwark councillor Evelyn Akoto, youth charity assistant director Peter Babudu, NEF chief executive Miatta Fahnbulleh, NHS doctor and former mayor of Lambeth Neeraj Patil and senior adviser to the mayor of London Johnson Situ.
Rumours have been swirling around the selection process in Camberwell and Peckham ever since long-standing MP Harriet Harman announced back in December that she would be standing down at the next election. Harman has represented the constituency (and its predecessor, Peckham) in parliament since 1982, making her the longest continuously serving female MP in the Commons and earning her the title of ‘Mother of the House’.
The constituency was the 19th safest seat in the UK at the 2019 election, when Harman achieved a majority of 33,780. Her majority rose considerably between 2010 and 2017 – from 17,187 to 37,316 – demonstrating the strength of the Labour vote in Camberwell and Peckham and the likelihood that whoever is successful in the selection contest will go on to represent the seat. Here’s our rundown of the candidates expected to put themselves forward:
Marina Ahmad will be putting herself forward for selection. She was elected as the London Assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark in 2021 and currently serves as deputy chair of the economy committee and as a member of the police and crime committee. She was previously a councillor in Bromley, representing Crystal Palace ward from 2018 to 2021. She is currently chair of the GMB southern region race network. Outside of politics, Ahmad has worked in roles within the NHS, local government, the voluntary sector and international development. She trained as a barrister and previously worked for the Crown Prosecution Service. She also founded the anti-racism social policy think tank Race on the Agenda.
Evelyn Akoto confirmed to LabourList that she will be standing and officially launched her campaign in October. Akoto is a councillor on Southwark council, representing Old Kent Road. She currently serves as cabinet member for health and wellbeing. While serving on the council, she set up the Southwark Positive Futures fund, which gives young people a say in the youth activities provided in the local area, and created the Southwark Safe Spaces initiative, which provides support to survivors of domestic abuse. She grew up in Southwark and previously stood unsuccessfully to be the Labour candidate for Lambeth and Southwark in the London Assembly elections.
Peter Babudu announced that he is standing in a post on social media in September. He was formerly a councillor on Southwark council, representing Rye Lane ward from 2018 to 2022. He is currently assistant director of research and youth understanding at the Youth Endowment Fund, an organisation that seeks to tackle youth crime and violence through early intervention. He also chairs the Blagrave Trust, a foundation that serves young people experiencing and challenging injustice in their lives and in wider society. Babudu grew up in the constituency and currently lives there with his family. He had been endorsed by shadow minister Ruth Jones and backbench MP Cat Smith.
Miatta Fahnbulleh confirmed to LabourList that she is planning to put herself forward. Fahnbulleh is currently chief executive of left-wing think tank the New Economics Foundation (NEF), a role she has held since 2017. She was previously director of policy and research at the Institute of Public Policy Research and also served as a policy adviser to the then leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, from 2013 to 2015. Prior to that, she held roles in the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s strategy unit.
Pablo John has also applied to be Labour’s next candidate. John served as a research and campaigns assistant to Tracy Brabin during her campaign to become West Yorkshire mayor. Prior to that, he worked as a parliamentary assistant to Alex Sobel and as a campaign assistant in Leeds North West during the 2019 election campaign. John currently works as a policy analyst for the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and is a youth activist with Green New Deal Rising. He is a board member of the Electoral Reform Society.
Sunny Lambe launched his campaign at the end of September. Lambe has served as a councillor on Southwark council since 2014, representing South Bermondsey ward. He has lived in the constituency for more than 36 years and has been active within the community in various roles, including as a member of the Southwark Group of Tenants and Residents organisation and serving as chairman of Southwark Black History Month. He set up the Peckham supplementary school in 2001, which provided young people in the borough with support in English, maths, Black history and drama, as well as offering youth engagement activities. He works as a business management consultant.
Maurice Mcleod announced in October that he is putting himself forward. He has been a councillor on Wandsworth council since 2018 and currently represents Battersea Park ward. He is chief executive of anti-racism charity Race On The Agenda and previously worked as a policy and communications advisor for Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova. Outside of politics, he has worked as a journalist for many years and was previously director of Media Diversified, a non-profit working to address the under-representation of marginalised communities in the UK news media.
Reginald Popoola also intends to stand. Popoola is a councillor on Southwark council, elected to represent Nunhead and Queen’s Road ward in 2022. He is a community activist who was recently in the news for his involvement in a protest against an immigration raid in Peckham. Outside of politics, he gives legal advice to people needing support with a range of issues, including housing. He grew up in the constituency.
Johnson Situ launched his campaign on social media back in August. Situ currently works as a senior adviser to London mayor Sadiq Khan. He was previously a councillor on Southwark council, representing Peckham ward from 2014 to 2021 and serving as a cabinet member for five years. He was born and grew up in the constituency.