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:
Evelyn Akoto confirmed to LabourList that she will be standing. Akoto is a councillor on Southwark council, representing Old Kent Road. She currently serves as cabinet member for health and wellbeing. 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 earlier this month. 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.
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.