Activist claims victory in ‘witch hunt’ row

By Kaye Wiggins

A community activist and would-be councillor has claimed a victory in a row over allegations that she was subjected to a “witch hunt” by local Labour politicians.

Adeline AinaAdeline Aina, pictured left, has been told that for the time being she will be able to keep her place as a candidate for a council seat in next year’s local elections.

A row broke out last month after she was called in by the party to answer questions about her “integrity”. This came after she beat the senior councillor Pete Robbins by just one vote to win a place as a council candidate for the Larkhall ward.

At the time Simon Woolley, director of the equality campaign group Operation Black Vote, said the decision to call Aina in for questions “has all the hallmarks of powerful white men manipulating their privilege and undermining the democratic process.”

Aina’s supporters organised protests on Windrush Square, claiming she was being targeted by Labour party figures who wanted to reinstate Robbins, who is responsible for housing and regeneration across the borough, in her place.

But council leader Lib Peck said Aina had been called in because the party had to “make sure that council candidates selected are of the utmost integrity and have the ability to hold such an important local office.”

Details of the process are yet to emerge, but Woolley told the Blog this week that the procedure under which Aina would have had to answer further questions had “at least for the moment been scrapped.” He said it was a “victory for common sense and democracy”.

Aina told the Brixton Blog: “I am delighted to have been selected to stand for Labour in Larkhall. It’s an area that has huge need for hard-working, positive, optimistic councillors with real life experience.

“I am very pleased to enjoy the support of local party members and ward officers.

“Bring on 2014,” she said.

She added that she hoped to use her experience as a Lambeth estate resident and community activist to “work hard for ordinary people”.

Kevin Craig, chair of Larkhall ward Labour party, also said he was pleased with the decision. “In Adeline, Tina Valcarcel and Marsha de Cordova [the other Labour candidates for the ward] we have three passionate campaigners for the Larkhall area,” he said.

The Lambeth Labour party has not yet responded to a request to comment.


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