A member of far-left pressure group Momentum has been selected as Labour candidate for councillor in Mildmay ward ahead of next year’s elections.
Santiago Bell-Bradford, 25, son of a refugee from Chile, would replace Cllr Olly Parker, who announced he was stepping down from his position in October.
If elected, he would be the first councillor from Momentum in Islington and one of the first in the UK to belong to the organisation, which was formed from the successful campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2015.
Bell-Bradford became Group Development and Volunteer Coordinator for Momentum two days after its founding, having been a builder with “no political ambitions whatsoever.”
Bell-Bradford told Islington Now that political office would be a “big change” from his role in Momentum. He said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge of no longer being a voice outside but being a voice inside.”
He continued: “It’s very hard to push a reform from the outside. It carries less weight if you’re a group of people who aren’t involved, saying that the people who are involved aren’t doing it right, everyone looks at you skeptically.”
Mildmay’s housing issues, which include shortages and overcrowding, are key interests for Bell-Bradford: “I’m from a council house and if it wasn’t for council housing I wouldn’t live in Islington, which I love.”
“I want to protect it and give people the same opportunities to live in Islington that I had, especially now with the sell off,” he said, referring to current government policy, heavily criticised by Labour, that forces local councils to sell off higher-value council properties.
Labour currently holds 47 out of 48 councillor seats in the borough. The local elections will take place on 3rd May next year.