On Saturday afternoon the Ealing Central and Acton Constituency Labour Party selected Rupa Huq as their candidate to fight Conservative Angie Bray at the next general election. Rupa is a local girl to the tips of her toes â€“ she lives in my ward Northfield, and a pleasant woman she is.
One thing I find slightly strange about the way she presents herself is her banging on about being â€œdeputy mayoressâ€. Rupa even uses a photo of herself in the council chamber with her ribbon and badge on her twitter account. In a piece in the Guardian she said â€œI have become deputy mayoress of the London borough of Ealingâ€. This is a strange form of words. Cllr John Gallagher was appointed Deputy Mayor, being a long serving South Acton councillor. As he does not have a wife, he nominated Rupa to be his consort which is a slightly different thing from being deputy mayor.
In her Guardian piece Rupa burbled on about public service:
I’m talking about serving in local government, the selfless calling to represent your local community. The issue has become central to my own life: in recent weeks I have become deputy mayoress of the London borough of Ealing. The result has been an eye-opener as some of the vestiges of pomp, ceremony and patronage seem to be alive and well â€“ despite our 13-year entanglement with the non-hierarchical, New Labour-induced New Britain.
Now I am sure that Rupa works hard as a university lecturer and is an all round good stick but she has never served in local government except to ride in the Mayorâ€™s car and eat the odd vol-au-vent accompanying John Gallagher on his duties. Rupa did indeed try to become a councillor in 2010 but failed. You can see the results here. She got 1,754 votes.
Both Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma (1994/5) and Ealing North MP Stephen Pound (1995/6) were Mayors of the London Borough of Ealing so I guess Rupa feels that maybe she will get a boost too through her municipal connections but she might make her role a bit clearer.
I live in the Ealing Central and Acton constituency and I will be working hard over the next year and a half to get our excellent MP Angie Bray re-elected. I wish Rupa good luck but I will be making it my business to make sure that Rupa sticks to the facts.