It is being reported that the Labour mayor of Newham council - that’s the authority which has introduced stricter controls on the private rental sector - may be deselected as a result of internal Labour party initiatives pursued by the pressure group Momentum.
Sir Robin Wales, who has been leader of the local authority for 23 years, will now have to take part in a reselection process in order to secure nomination to stand in the London local elections on May 3.
The Huffington Post reports that Wales is facing a strong challenge from local councillor Rokhsana Fiaz, who is backed by Momentum activists as well as others in the party.
Labour has 59 of the 60 councillors in the borough and the party is not under any threat in terms of keeping control of the council, but Wales is now likely to face an online ballot of members to choose the final candidate.
The ballot is open only to members who joined before July 1 2016.
Wales told HuffPost: “I will stand proudly on my record, whether that’s private-rented sector licensing, universal free school meals, and my radical vision to stand up against austerity and for social justice in the future. That means working to fix the Tory housing crisis, securing council services, improving skills and education, making our streets safer and creating a greener, healthier borough.”
Newham has been regarded as the local authority with, historically, the strongest policing of its lettings sector licensing policies; the council’s figures show that more than 1,215 landlords have been prosecuted and 28 of the worst offenders have been banned.
A total of 25 letting agents have been subject to penalty charge notices or other legal action and more than £2.8m in council tax has been recovered.
The council has also announced plans to rate all letting agents from zero to five stars (where five is the best), and then publish the list in full on the council’s website.