Huddersfield’s ‘Twitter king’ Khan set for Greenwich Council seat

Mehboob Khan's Twitter feed

A former leader of a Yorkshire council has been selected by Labour activists to fight a by-election caused by the resignation of Matt Pennycook, who left Greenwich Council last week to concentrate on the general election.

Mehboob Khan, who led Kirklees Council until last year, will contest Greenwich West on 7 May, the same day Pennycook hopes to be elected MP for Greenwich & Woolwich.

Khan quit his post as council leader last year when he moved to the capital to take up a job as political advisor at the Local Government Association.

But despite living in Deptford’s Millennium Quay, he remained a councillor for Huddersfield’s Greenhead ward. He revealed his decision to leave last Monday – the same day Pennycook announced his resignation.

Khan was lauded as the “Twitter king” of Yorkshire politics last year by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner for having more followers than other council leaders.

But his adventures on social media in London haven’t always been such a hit – getting criticised last year for amending someone’s tweet praising the Tall Ships Festival so it namechecked Greenwich leader Denise Hyland.

He may also want to amend his Twitter handle – while he is still listed as a Kirklees councillor, continuing to use @cllrMehboobKhan could get him in hot water in London. (9.55am update: After initially changing it to the arguably-presumptuous @MehboobKhanRBG, then @MehboobKhan99, it’s now @MKhanGreenwich.)  

Labour romped home at the last election and he’ll be the runaway favourite to win. But opponents eyeing an upset will include Conservative campaigner Thomas Turrell and Green Party stalwart Robin Stott.

It’s also understood that left-wing group People Before Profit, best-known for strong performances in Lewisham Council elections, are considering fielding a candidate, which would be their first on the Greenwich side of the border.

Friday update: The Liberal Democrats have chosen Sonia Dunlop to contest the seat.

9 comments

  1. Oh crikey, I can’t keep up with all these twitter handle changes… A bit of advice for anyone choosing one – don’t link it to something that might change.

  2. “Set for Greenwich council seat”? I’m not sure even Greenwich Time would dare to run that as a headline…!

    On the contrary, it’s a great chance to challenge the assumption that West Greenwich is solid Labour. For a start the Greens are mounting a strong bid to get Robin Stott elected as the first Green Party councillor in Greenwich, to speak up for the environmental and social justice issues that the Council routinely lets pass by. You do mention this further down but the headline sends a different message.

  3. Well said Fiona. And the news that RBG has £17m worth of public money invested in damaging fossil fuels, which is crazy financially as well as indefensible ethically, means it’s urgently necessary to get a Green voice onto the Council. Robin Stott isn’t any old Green either – he’s a retired hospital physician who co-chairs the Climate and Health Council and knows these issues as well as anyone alive. It’s in the interest of everyone in RBG to get him elected.

  4. “But despite living in Deptford’s Millennium Quay, he remained a councillor for Huddersfield’s Greenhead ward.”. For a Year!!!!….Hmmm so what does that tell us about the current state of the Labour Party and their commitment to genuine local representation?

  5. Greenwich desperately needs Greening. Robin Stott will be a brilliant addition to the council and will lead the vanguard in the much needed change in our local politics. #GreenwichNeedsAGreen

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