Fury Over Tory Nominations for Polish Party Candidate
Claims made that it is a ploy to divide anti-Brexit vote in Chiswick ward
The Conservatives in Chiswick are being accused of underhand tactics after a number of their members signed the nomination papers of a candidate from Duma Polska or Polish Pride party in the Riverside ward.
Both Labour and Liberal Democrats are saying that it is a ploy to split the anti-Brexit vote in forthcoming local elections on 3 May. The ward has consistently elected three Conservative councillors but voted 74% to Remain during the EU Referendum and backed Ruth Cadbury during the last general election. Labour are hoping to pull off a shock win of one or more seats in the ward. According to the 2011 census 12.6% of the population of the ward have passports from other EU countries and that proportion is likely to have risen markedly since that time.
The nomination papers for Maria Kempinska, the Polish Pride candidate include one of the Conservative candidates for the ward and sitting councillor Sam Hearn along with his wife and son as well as Julian Tanner, the chair of Brentford and Isleworth Conservatives. None of the names that have nominated the candidate appear to be Polish.
The local Conservatives who endorsed her have said they knew her well as a local resident who helped organise community events in Grove Park and that was why they supported her nomination. They also claim that the move is to broaden participation in the political process.
It is not against the rules for one candidate to nominate another but the local Labour party have said that if any of their candidates did so it would be grounds for expulsion under party rules.
Polish Pride was set up last month by millionaire aristocrat John Zylinski, who plans to field 100 candidates in parts of London with a large Polish population. He ran in the 2016 London Mayoral race, coming in 11th place and once challenged Nigel Farage to a duel. The party aims to represent EU citizens who are allowed to vote in local elections. Its policies include creating a new criminal offence of “Europhobia” to combat specific hate crimes over Brexit. Prince Zylinski told the Evening Standard, said that it was not just a party for Poles, adding that he hoped the party would galvanise voters from across the EU and the UK.
Maria Kempinska is a psychotherapist and business mentor, who set up the Jongleurs comedy club. She is the daughter of Polish immigrants and was awarded an MBE in 2009 for services to the entertainment industry. We have asked her for comment on her candidacy.
April 13, 2018