Ex-Labour MP to run against party in Kensington, saying it lacks ‘compassion’


An ex-Labour MP who narrowly lost the seat of Kensington in 2019 looks set to run against the party at the next general election, saying it has lost its Left-wing values.

Emma Dent Coad, who was blocked from being the Labour candidate in the seat last year, started a crowdfunding site last week saying she would run as an independent if she got £30,000. She has so far raised over half the money.

Dent Coad told us she feels Labour has lost its way and is not giving a voice to people struggling with the cost of living. "There's no compassion... where's the compassion in the Labour party? It's gone," she said, adding that she'd at first tried to support the Kensington candidate Joe Powell, but changed her mind. "I've found it very difficult, because the campaign is really dragging its feet, it's not inspiring, and a lot of people are getting fed up" she said.

A group of friends urged her to stand for her local and housing knowledge. "I had genuinely decided that there was no way that I was going to stand as an independent candidate... I don't have any money, I wouldn't have any backing, and do I really want to put myself through that... But people kept on asking me" she said.

Dent Coad said the response to her move has shown the desire for left-wing candidates. "The support I've had from North Ken and people around the country, some of whom are Labour members... has been very touching, and I thought 'I'm needed, basically,'" she said. "I've got a WhatsApp group of people who want to pitch in when the time comes, quite a few of whom are anonymous because they're still working within the party, but they just see it's an 'ideology free zone', and the ideology that is coming out of the Labour is really not what they stood for".

Dent Coad says Labour are failing to give a voice to people who are struggling with the cost of living, saying she knows of people who are moving out of West London because they can't afford to live there any more. "We've had firefighters, and nurses, and doctors thinking about going to food banks" she said. "The whole attitude towards people who are struggling is punitive, and that has got embedded in the Labour party, and I really don't want to see that. We should be giving everyone a leg up".

She is also frustrated with Labour's backsliding on green issues. "I find it extraordinary that at a time when half the world is burning and the other half is being flooded... and we're still saying 'Ah well, we're going to slow it down, we should be able to drive our cars, it's a basic freedom'" she said, adding that Sadiq Khan was right to stand up for his ULEZ expansion in London.

The incumbent Tory, Felicity Buchan, may be glad, as she’s likely to split the Labour vote, but Dent Coad says: “I don't see there's a Labour alternative, it's not a Labour alternative". She says she met the Labour candidate Joe Powell and offered her some money towards his campaign, but wasn't inspired by him.

"Under the current Labour leadership, we are just a shadow of the Tory party, and I can’t subscribe to that. I need to not only provide an alternative to people who feel homeless and won't vote... but also, I want to change the conversation, and we have to have a proper discourse about what is happening in this borough and elsewhere, rather than just backbiting and personal comments, which I'm not buying into" she said.