Jeremy Corbyn at Westminster, photo by RevolutionBahrain/CC

Jeremy Corbyn at Westminster, photo by RevolutionBahrain/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Nick Auvache, North London Socialist Party

Claire Kober, the Labour leader of Haringey council, has been reselected to stand as a councillor in the May 2018 elections. Kober supports the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), a scheme to privatise £2 billion worth of council housing, and hand it over to a joint venture with a private developer who will demolish entire estates and replace them with luxury apartments.

The HDV is opposed by local Labour parties and by the two local Labour MPs. Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Labour Party annual conference attacked regeneration schemes which in reality mean “forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out”.

But the majority of Labour councillors in Haringey are determined to ignore local and Labour Party opposition and to push ahead with the HDV.

Efforts by the left in the Labour Party have been focussed on deselecting pro-HDV councillors who have very little support among the Labour Party membership. According to reports by Labour Party members, Claire Kober secured reselection by signing up around 65 members during a two-week period in the Autumn of 2016.

It is reported that whole families joined at once recording the same mobile phone number and email address, and paying membership fees through a single transaction. These new members had not come to Labour meetings or canvassing sessions, until last week’s selection meeting, where it is reported that they packed the meeting, outnumbering the left by 60 to 30, and voting as a block to reselect Claire Kober.

The Lib Dems (who are the opposition in Haringey Council) are opportunistically trying to reinvent themselves as the anti-HDV party, and make the HDV into the number one issue in the May elections.

The Labour council is blatantly disregarding the position of the party locally and nationally, enforcing privatisation policies that will be extremely damaging to local working class people and risk allowing the Lib Dems to make gains.

Jeremy Corbyn should personally intervene to prevent HDV proponents Claire Kober and Alan Strickland from standing as Labour Party candidates in these elections.

If Jeremy Corbyn fails to do this, then community anti-HDV candidates should stand in the May election to challenge Kober and other pro-HDV candidates.