Barely two months after being selected as the Labour Party’s Prospective Parliamentary candidate(PPC) for the South Thanet constituency rumours are beginning to circulate that wannabe MP Polly Billington might be packing her bags and joining the chicken run to Hackney where she hopes to secure the PPC nomination for what seems likely to become the vacant parliamentary seat of Hackney North and Stoke Newington following the recent suspension of, and investigation into current MP Diane Abbott.
Although it would be an astonishingly selfish breach of trust were Parachute Polly to decide to do the dirty on the South Thanet Labour Party by quitting her PPC position, the evidence appears to suggest that Polly might gamble on this being a risk worth taking. In fact I would go so far as saying that I believe her departure to Hackney is very likely. This is why.
First, it’s not for nothing that Polly has been given the nickname Parachute. She’s a very ambitious person who for many years has been trying to become a PPC in a winnable Labour seat. That’s why she rocked up in Thanet hoping to be selected as the candidate for a seat, which following upcoming boundary changes, might become winnable for Labour.
But, forget the ifs, buts, mights, and maybes associated with South Thanet, Hackney North and Stoke Newington is not burdend with any such uncertanties. It is, in fact, one of the safest, most easily winable Labour parliamentary seats in the known universe.
In 2019 Diane Abbott romped home with gobsmacking 33,000 vote majority. Even if Abbott’s replacement does not have her high profile and does not enjoy the strong community support which Diane clearly does, this seat is a Labour victory certainty and, in political parlance, is one of the rare gold plated constituencies know as a “seat for life”.
There can be no doubt that those within the Labour Party such as Parachute Polly, who harbour a burning political ambition to become an MP will, like vultures circling carrion, already be eyeing up this potential vacancy.
Polly’s bag packing might also be hastened by the fact that she happens to live in Hackney and has been a Hackney councillor since 2018. But she’s not just a run of the mill back bench councillor she is also the chair of the Hackney Council skills, economy, and growth scrutiny commission.
To occupy such a senior post Polly clearly has the support and confidence of many of her 49 colleague Labour councillors and almost certainly enjoys a good degree of support amongst rank and file party members too, all of which will be incredibly helpful should she decide to throw her hat in the ring.
Her decision on whether to walk out on South Thanet Labour will also be influenced by the fact that Polly has powerful connections within the highest reaches of Labour Party.
She worked as an adviser to Ed Milliband when he was the Labour Party Leader and as communications director for Labour London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. Endorsement and support from top Labour figures such as these would provide anyone seeking the Hackney North and Stoke Newington PPC job with a flying start to getting it
In her job as the Chief Executive and owner of the environmental networking organisation UK100, Polly will also have developed an extensive professional network which I am sure will include many other senior Labour politicians. These connections will provide any PPC campaign she might launch in Hackney with further boost.
So bearing in mind her undoubted personal ambition, a potential PPC vacancy for an easily winnable and safe parliamentary seat on her doorstep, her already established political track record in Hackney and her wide and influential network within the Labour Party, I believe there is a very strong likelihood of, when Diane's seat becomes vacant, Parachute Pollyr handing in her resignation as the South Thanet Labour PPC and joining the chicken run to garb a bigger, better, and easier to achieve prize in Hackney.
Should my prediction be true the downside for Polly will be an unforgivable breach in trust caused by what many will believe to be her cold, selfish, ambition which she places before anything else. But I doubt this will worry her too much, if at all.
Here is someone who purports to oppose tax dodging, to defend workers’ rights, and to be greener than the green. But yet she happily snatched £500,000 from the tarnished hands of IKEA, a fabulously wealthy multination which is the antitheses of the values Polly claims to champion,
Parachute Polly’s IKEAs dalliance, about which I will be writing more about soon, leads me to believe that morality, ethics and loyalty to principles are not her strong points and that the shafting of the South Thanet Labour Party will probably be seen by her as just another step on her long self-serving journey to the House of Commons.
I really hope my prediction is wrong, but something inside tells me it might not be.