As the General Election approaches, only six candidates have put their names forward for the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency, fighting for the honour of being its last MP. In alphabetical order, here's the choice I face locally.
• Rushanara Ali(Labour) - The sitting MP (until Parliament was prorogued), Rushanara took back the seat for Labour in 2010 after George Galloway buggered off elsewhere. She's Britain's first MP of Bangladeshi origin, and grew up round here (although she currently lives in the West Ham constituency). In 2014 she resigned as a shadow minister over Iraq, in 2015 she nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour party leadership, in 2016 she called on him to step down, and earlier this year she defied the party whip over the triggering of Article 50. Thus far she is the only candidate whose leaflet has been poked through my letterbox. [website][Twitter]
• Charlotte Chirico(Conservative) - Just before nominations closed, the local Conservative party put out a brief statement announcing Charlie as their candidate - "a lawyer and a Councillor, sitting on numerous boards including the Children and Young Person's Board". What they didn't mention is that she's a councillor in Merton, and lives in Merton, and has presumably been airlifted in by Central Office to learn the ropes in a seat she has no hope of winning. Thus far she has no online presence and no operational Twitter account, although she has stood in front of the Burdett-Coutts fountain in Victoria Park wearing a blue rosette.
• Ian de Wulverton(UKIP) - Ian has General Election form, in that he stood for UKIP in Ealing North in 2010 and polled 685 votes. He's also a local councillor for somewhere else in London, namely Heaton ward in Havering, where he took office for UKIP (at the third attempt) in 2014. He might be the same student nurse who Socialist Worker reported waving union banners from the top of the London Eye in 2000 in a protest about low pay and conditions, or there might be another Ian de Wulverton in London politics, you never know.
• William Dyer(Liberal Democrat) - It's been a busy April for William, who a) handed in his dissertation at Queen Mary University, b) took up a job at Lib Dem party HQ as Membership Development Manager, c) discovered that Theresa May was calling an election and he was now the parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow. William's interests are listed on Twitter as "museums, politics and the BIG GOD", and he lives in Bow, although he has been seen out canvassing more than once on behalf of Simon Hughes across the river. [Twitter][Instagram]
• Ajmal Masroor(Independent) - Ajmal's website describes him as an "Author, Broadcaster and Relationship Counsellor", and mentions that he grew up in Shadwell. Less prominently he's an imam who leads Friday prayers at various mosques, lives in Haringey, and has been banned (pre-Trump administration) from entering America. His list of 8 policy pledges mentions the local council much more often than it does Parliament, but 'Independent' can be cover for all sorts of things when you stand in Tower Hamlets. Ajmal previously stood here as a Liberal Democrat in the 2010 General Election, when he came second. [website][Twitter]
• Alistair Polson(Green) - Along with Rushanara, Alistair's the only other candidate who was on the ballot paper at the last election, quadrupling the Green party vote and ending up in a respectable third place. He's also a criminal defence barrister with a human rights background, lives locally, and is the most active of the half dozen on Twitter. The local Greens have a crowdfunding site up and running until tomorrow, and are hoping to raise enough to pay for a couple of nominations and some election publications. [Twitter]
» Wherever you are in the country, you can find out more about your General Election candidates at whocanivotefor.co.uk, and follow them on Twitter at mpsontwitter.co.uk/list.
» I've also made a special Twitter list of the Bethnal Green and Bow candidates here, if you're local and would like to subscribe.