Normally Chuka is so in line with public outrage that his position shifts before the public have even worked out what they are angry about, so it’s rare to hear people declaring that he “got it wrong”. The Standard reported last week:
“A rising star in the Labour party came under fire today for supporting a decision to cancel the Lambeth Country Show. Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna backed Lambeth council after it scrapped the free three-day event, which attracts up to 200,000 people each July.”
In 2010, Chuka said the show was what the community “was all about”:
So why was he prepared to sell his constituents out this time?
Brixton residents are said to be “up in arms” about the “eccentric mix of outdoor musical performances, sheep shearing, jousting and vegetable-growing” being cancelled so that resources are not diverted from the Olympics. Under fire, the Labour council, led by one Steve Reed, was boosted when Chuka weighed in on their side.
Things haven’t always been so cosy between these two though. As a long-term local councillor, Reed believed he would be a shoo in for the Streatham seat until some hot-shot, sharp-suited lawyer, with friends in high places, came out of nowhere. However with Streatham preparing to feel the full weight of the Boundary Review, Reed has his local MP by the balls.
Chuka is first in line to take the new mega-safe Brixton seat, but all that could change. As a Brixton councillor, Reed has a lot of local support and could make life difficult for Chuka very easily. In choosing to keep Reed sweet on this issue, Chuka has put his future career before his constituents. He’s not wrong on public opinion here, it’s just beneath him…