Plea to ex-spin doctor over axed councillor

Brentwood Weekly News: Alastair Campbell Alastair Campbell

FORMER New Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell could intervene in a row between the regional and local parties over a councillor’s deselection.

David Kirkman, 27, claims the regional party has stopped him fighting to retain his Fryerns seat, in Pitsea, at May’s local elections because of a mental health episode he suffered.

Mr Kirkman appealed to Labour’s East of England regional office, but lost, with Adel Brown, from Billericay, put in place to fight for the seat.

The Basildon party, who want Mr Kirkman reinstated, contacted Mr Campbell because Tony Blair’s former top man has previously suffered mental health problems.

The official line is Mr Kirkman was not endorsed because of “poor” public speaking and casework and his understanding of the council.

But Mr Kirkman and colleagues were convinced it was down to an episode of mental health problems he faced while a councillor.

He said: “It was dealt with by myself and medical professionals and I am now OK. I do not know who informed the regional party about it, but I have, unofficially, been made aware they know about it.

“They said it was about casework. But at my appeal I gave numerous examples of successful casework.”

Phil Rackley, Basildon Labour group deputy leader, said the decision was taken by “individuals who seem to believe people with disabilities should, because of these disabilities, be barred from seeking public office”.

The local party has even set up a Facebook group, Justice for David Kirkman, in a bid to gain support .

Mr Campbell said he was not yet involved and would wait to get all the facts. He said: “If a Labour representative were effectively disqualified on grounds of an episode of mental ill-health, I would be concerned and would be pleased to take it up with senior figures.”

A spokesman for the East of England Labour Party said: “Following the regular selection procedures, unfortunately David Kirkham was not selected to stand as a candidate in May’s elections.’’

Comments (3)

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3:24pm Wed 22 Feb 12

katch22 says...

Why didn't he go direct to Campbells boss? Satan would surely be able to help more than his minion!
Why didn't he go direct to Campbells boss? Satan would surely be able to help more than his minion! katch22
  • Score: 0

7:01am Wed 29 Feb 12

Brunning999 says...

OCD
Is the reason.
OCD Is the reason. Brunning999
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Sat 3 Mar 12

termite1944 says...

Why do people think that having a mental illness means you have no brain?

i know of folk that have had serious mental health problems from childhood, have a degree and have never been pout of work in their life, are very successful in everything they do and put some 'sane' folk to shame!

It is time folk were treated as equals, and who knows what tomorrows holds for you!

I would be absolutely appalled if I felt Basildon council discriminated against the mentally illl ... I have always found them so supportive so this is worrying news for me!

Surely the person concerned here was chosen by the people ... not the council?
Why do people think that having a mental illness means you have no brain? i know of folk that have had serious mental health problems from childhood, have a degree and have never been pout of work in their life, are very successful in everything they do and put some 'sane' folk to shame! It is time folk were treated as equals, and who knows what tomorrows holds for you! I would be absolutely appalled if I felt Basildon council discriminated against the mentally illl ... I have always found them so supportive so this is worrying news for me! Surely the person concerned here was chosen by the people ... not the council? termite1944
  • Score: 0

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