John McTernan is a longstanding member of the hard right of the Labour Party who previously called for the Tory government to ‘crush’ rail unions – and who has a history of running failed campaigns in this country and overseas.
Mr McTernan is said to have recently joined left-wing activist group Momentum, but few consider it to be a conversion – and his recent online behaviour suggests there has been no political ‘road to Damascus’ for the former Blair adviser.
That behaviour has, however, performed the useful function of giving Labour members still greater clarity about how to cast their votes in the vital impending election of three additional members of the NEC to represent Labour’s membership.
The left has put forward a ‘slate’ of three candidates for the positions: Yasmine Dar, Rachel Garnham and Momentum founder Jon Lansman. Lansman’s candidacy has troubled some pro-Corbyn members and this has been reflected in a lower number of nominations by CLPs than the other left-slate candidates.
Out of the candidates not on the left slate, three are supported by right-wing factions Progress and Labour First: Eddie Izzard, Gurinder Singh Josan and the unpopular former NEC member voted off last year, Johanna Baxter. However, they describe themselves as ‘independent’.
This morning, right-leaning site LabourList described the trio as a ‘slate’ – and then quickly changed the wording. But McTernan has reinforced the idea with a tweeted response to a question about his vote in his CLP’s nominations for the election:
It appears the idea that the three form a de facto slate, regardless of the intention of individual candidates is as common among the right of the Labour Party as among the left.
The additional three places are vital to the political and democratic direction of the Labour Party over coming years. Given right-wing support for the ‘Progress slate’ as McTernan describes it, any Labour members wishing to be sure that the candidates they elect to fill those places will support Jeremy Corbyn and the changes that most members wish to see, they will need to cast their votes for all three of the left-slate candidates.
Ballots for the NEC election will start to go out to members from 30 Nov.
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