At a packed Annual General Meeting on Monday 22 Feb, members of Kensington Labour Party voted by a large majority to affiliate to the organisation Republic, who are campaigning for a democratic alternative to the monarchy.

Membership of the local Labour party has quadrupled since this time last year, and new members are keen to take a stand on controversial issues.

Last September party vice-chair Emma Dent Coad was delegate to the Labour Party Conference. CLP members had agreed two Motions, one to stop Trident renewal and the other to ‘Stop Taxpayer Funding of the Monarchy’. This Motion demanded an end to the taxpayers’ subsidy of a family with several members residing in Kensington. Emma says: ‘When many low-income families in the borough are struggling to pay their bills including tax, it is perverse to continue subsidising the extravagant lifestyle of those who are already financially secure and well housed – and who are exempted from paying tax themselves. It is estimated that £334m a year could be saved by ceasing these payments.’

In the event it was the Trident Motion that was voted to go to Conference, and Kensington Labour have now also affiliated to Labour CND.

However this new link with Republic has given members renewed hope that one day a Motion could be taken to Conference to argue its case. Emma said: ‘In cost terms alone giving financial support of £334m/year to the monarchy cannot possibly be justified in a time of government cuts that are devastating our communities. I am delighted that we have finally agreed to take a stand by affiliating to Republic.’

CLP chair David Kear said: ‘We have yet another Royal celebration coming up, for which the taxpayer will be expected to pay. Several people have been outraged at the Palace’s ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign. We pay Council Tax to have the streets cleaned, why pay double in cash and personal effort? The Royal family are a constant drain on resources, and here in the most unequal borough in Britain, we have four food banks feeding hard-pressed families. I’m glad Kensington Labour members are prepared to stand up and say “enough is enough”.’





The campaign teams were able to get the necessary 1,500 signatures to have this petition debated in Full Council. Well done everyone who went out in cold and rain to achieve this!

The debate will take place on Weds 27 January, in the Council Chamber, Town Hall Kensington. The meeting starts at 6.30pm and the debate comes reasonably early in the meeting.


If you have never attended a Full Council meeting before and seen your Councillors at work trying to impose some democracy … come to the Civic Desk (follow the sparkly lights) main reception and ask for directions to the Public Gallery.

Those will mobility issues will find there is level access available to the first floor, where you can sit at the back of the Council Chamber. ALL WELCOME!



Kensington Labour has launched a petition to demand that the Council lobbies the Mayor of London for step-free access including lifts at tube stations. This had been agreed and budgeted by the previous Mayor Livingstone, but the current Mayor withdrew the funding.

You can access Hammersmith and City line via a lift at Paddington, but  you can’t get off at Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove or Latimer Road! We also have huge concerns at other busy stations such as Kensington High Street and South Kensington.

Please sign our petition before 6 January to persuade RBKC Council to lobby the Mayor for step-free transport:







Comment from Westway Trust Board member Cllr Pat Mason, following the Tabernacle meeting on 11.11.15 that WT refused to attend:

“I advised the trust Chair and Chief Executive to attend the W23 Tabernacle public meeting saying they should not operate in a vacuum without the input of local people and without giving people the right to ask questions, scrutinise their actions, and to suggest what strategies the trust should follow for the future. Unfortunately, they decided not to attend because they are locked into the belief that local people should be commenting on and suggesting improvements to the trust’s proposals and strategies, rather than accepting that local people do not support what they are doing and have a completely different vision for their area. So any kind of strongly-voiced opposition to what is being proposed is experienced as unpalatable by trust directors who say they shouldn’t have to put up with abuse when they are at work.

This disconnect with the community is a historical problem born from the hijacking of the trust by Kensington & Chelsea Council from its inception and used as a vehicle to advance Council regeneration policies and to prevent real community representatives and groups, who were always branded as trouble-makers, from managing their own assets and making decisions beneficial to their communities.

For several decades, the trust has been run as if it were a castle bordered by a mote and peopled by the Council’s grandees who have ingrained their philosophy of neo liberal top down decision-making on the organisation which is a hard mould to break. The trust now has less Community representatives and elected Councillors, and more professional appointees on its board than it had a year ago. It was set up to go down the corporate route and that process will continue unless the local community backs up its wish for an alternative vision with real actions”.

Pat Mason, Councillor


Westway Trust Board Member


RBKC Labour Group of Councillors position statement at 13.10.15

The RBKC Labour Group of Councillors has been elected to represent residents who live around the Westway, and whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the presence of the road that sliced through their neighbourhood in 1970. The demolition of homes, the dislocating effect of the flyover on travel options, the pollution, and the use of space beneath the flyover – originally never planned for – has had many negative consequences. The Westway Trust was set up to compensate for and to address these consequences.

Regarding early plans for regenerating the 23 acres of land in the Trust’s care, the Labour Group believes the Trust must always remember its aims and responsibilities. We are concerned that the Trust’s aim of generating as much income as possible to pay for charitable works could paradoxically have a very negative effect on the communities the Trust exists to serve; some are already being forced out by rent rises and changes in policy. Some would go so far as to say that unless great care is taken the proposal for high-end independent shops, art galleries, restaurants and private housing would not help to build more solid foundations to support local business, employment and well-being, but instead would annihilate the local community.

We would support a more modest set of proposals that would put local needs first.

We consider that the Westway Trust began this process poorly but welcome signs that it is now beginning to learn from the responses from the community and from Councillors’ comments that there is a better way. We are pleased that the Trust has agreed to reconsider its previous timetable and plans and note that they have improved the consultation period.

We look forward to working with the Trust to ensure that any redevelopment by the Trust of the area that we are elected to represent maximises the interests of residents, traders and visitors and is not dominated disproportionately by the wish to generate revenue.

In summary the Labour Opposition Group of Councillors will campaign to:

  • Ensure that future consultation is open, honest and inclusive, and takes the time it needs
  • Require Westway to continue to engage, talk to, listen to and support the requirements of local people, businesses, traders and groups and insist they are considered first in future consultations and proposals
  • Urge Westway Trust to disseminate their learning from Stage 1
  • Question financial imperatives
  • Reiterate our plans for Greening the Westway to include hanging gardens (green walls) and a full (not tokenistic) programme to tackle air pollution
  • Question the marketing position of ‘Destination Westway’ which is clearly aimed at businesses outside the borough and does not favour local people
  • Ensure that no existing ‘social and community use’ is lost, but is maintained and improved
  • Ensure that Westway Trust has a meaningful consultation with neighbouring boroughs of Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Listen to any alternative visions or ideas, and support groups to find the expertise to bring these forward to viable proposals where possible
  • Carefully watch the Planning timetable to ensure there is time for future stages to be properly scrutinised
  • Update our position in line with the situation as it evolves
  • Prepare a set of guidelines for any future planning application, to include policies from the SPD, Local Plan, The London Plan and national planning regulations.





The Labour Group wrote to the Leader of the Council, Nick Paget-Brown, to find out how many refugees would be offered support in the Royal Borough. This was his response:



If you are a full, registered or affiliated member of the Labour party you will be getting your ballot papers in the post in the next week – or two. The closing date for the vote is 10 September, so no need to panic.


For your vote for Leader, IF you have an order of preference  you can list your preferences  1, 2, 3, 4. Each of your votes will count. It is the same for Deputy Leader. Here is a good explanation of the alternative voting system that will be used to select the Leader and Deputy Leader of the party:

nb, if you only have one choice, you can ‘bullet-vote’, ie, vote for just one person, but you must put the number ‘1’ and not a cross or a tick.

Kensington CLP voted overwhelmingly for Jeremy Corbyn as Leader, and Stella Creasy for Deputy; this was ‘indicative’, the CLP vote doesn’t actually count.

 And you can of course vote for whoever you wish!



In London we will also be voting for your preferred candidate for Mayor of London, for which the election is May 2016:

For our Mayoral candidate we understand that the Labour Party is also using av as above.

Kensington CLP had two, we voted for Tessa Jowell, with Christian Wolmar close behind. Again this vote was ‘indicative’. You can put them in order of preference, and vote for all six or up to six.




And coming up:


On Weds 9 September those who have been full members for at least six months will be selecting our candidates to represent us on the GLA. More info on this on our MEMBERS’ INFORMATION page, click on the link above.

Do visit our Facebook page and ‘Like’ us, comments and (civilised) debate very welcome: 

Kensington bucks the trend with 6% swing

2015 Election swing chart9.5.15

After a devastating night for Labour nationally, the political picture in London is very different, as we have seen.

Not least is the encouraging result for Kensington, which saw an increased turnout and an impressive 6% swing to Labour.

Many people imagine that Kensington is all footballers, plutocrats and aristocrats, but Labour Councillors work in some of the poorest wards in London and know the real Kensington is very mixed.

Having selected our ‘dream candidate’??????????????????????????????? Dr Rod Abouharb in October 2013, Kensington Labour’s Action Teams set to work immediately, and including local elections 2014 knocked on 30,000 doors and had 6,000 conversations. Our local manifesto, called ‘One Kensington’, reflecting the main concerns of the electorate, was launched in November 2014. Dr Rod – as he became known – became a recognisable face on the streets, attended surgeries and public meetings, wrote a column in the local paper, and appeared regularly in the press.

K&C Labour Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad said:

‘The real Kensington is a microcosm of all that is wrong with the country after five years of Tory rule. Inequalities are frankly shocking, and Tory complacency in the face of food banks, evictions and families and communities torn apart is despicable.

‘Local Councillors dread the next five years of Tory rule, but will fight for our residents and communities. As local resident Tony Benn put it:

“There is no final victory. There is no final defeat. There is just the same battle. To be fought over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up!”’

STOP PRESS – Kensington Labour closing the gap!

21.4.Projection, main graph15

(left, our projection based on increased Labour turnout)

This very heartening article by Mary Dejevsky in today’s Independent backs up what we’ve been saying for quite a while – the gap is smaller than you think! In 2010 Kensington under Rifkind was 142nd safest Tory seat, but this slipped to 211st by October 2014, when Electoral Calculus predicted the following for May 2015:

Conservative – 43.10%

Labour – 34.5%

LibDem – 1.1%

UKIP – 16.4%

While this has changed due to the plummeting support for UKIP, no poll can account for the tremendous amount of work carried out by Kensington Labour Action Teams and our wonderful and hard-working candidate Rod Abouharb.

Read the Indie article here:  Kensington Labour closing the gap

If you and every Labour voter uses their vote on 7 May, we could win. It’s that simple.