Given that Mr Tessa Jowell is in prison for bribery it comes as something mildly amusing this morning that Tessa Jowell herself is facing accusations of bribery in the ongoing debacle of the Labour Party selection protest in Erith and Thamesmead (see here for details).
Of course, for those that don't that area of London, it is a weird constituency because it sits half in the London Borough of Bexley and half in the London Borough of Greenwich. It is a complete hole of a place too and I have to admit I'm so glad I don't live there anymore. It's not the first time allegations of iffyness have surfaced in the area either.
I always remember a post by a local blog that illustrated (below) a web that existed for the development of the area and its connections to the local authority (Thamesmead is on the Greenwich side) and the Labour Party.
Obviously Len Duvall is no longer the chair of the MPA and I'm not sure if he's the leader of Labour on the GLA either, but he is the AM for the area still. None of this actually proves any wrongdoing of course, but in light of recent allegations in the area I thought I would offer some further context for the area that is having issues right now for Labour.
The current problems in Erith and Thamesmead, if they are not resolved for Labour soon, are certainly not going to help them out. The Bexley side of the constituency has exceptionally strong organisation for the Tories, and the Thamesmead side, whilst having a lot of social housing, also has a large population facing negative equity.
Technically speaking, E&T is a safe Labour seat, and the former MP, who was I think originally just John Walker - he became John Austin-Walker for a time and then just John Austin, which as luck would have it pushed him to the very top of the ballot paper - should have no trouble handing over the reigns to whoever emerges.
Saying this though, E&T has always in my mind been one of the potential shock seats. This is because of the amount of owner-occupied housing increase in the area, coupled with the negative equity issues, and not only that but the general anger locally at the massive amount of international fraud that emanates from there (see here for more details).
Oh yes, they also have the largest sewage works in Europe there (pictured), which, in the summer, means the area does quite literally stink.
Update: Mail on Sunday apologised it seems