Excl: Lab MP emails members re vote for Izzard – who gave £36k to her office costs

powell izzard
Lucy Powell and Eddie Izzard at Labour’s 2016 conference

Lucy Powell is the Labour MP for Manchester Central. She recently featured prominently in the BBC documentary Labour: The Summer that Changed Everything, which was originally meant to be an autopsy of the anticipated – by the mainstream media and ‘centrist’ Labour MPs – Labour disaster in June’s General Election.

The film had to be repurposed as an analysis of the ‘Corbyn surge’ and the shock – and in some cases horror – of those MPs at the supposedly surprising result, which the SKWAWKBOX and others had been predicting. Here are some of her key moments in the documentary:

Based on the documentary, Ms Powell:

  • is not a fan of Momentum and found the efforts of the group (and other left-wing members) to organise democratically to have their say in her local party ‘horrifying
  • was out of touch with popular feeling in her constituency during the General Election campaign: she describes herself on the evening of polling day as ‘pessimistic‘ and says she talked to many voters she expected to choose Labour who had voted Tory – just before finding out that her own majority had increased by almost 50% to over 30,000
  • appeared light-hearted after her resignation from the front bench in 2016 in what the programme describes as ‘an attempt to force [Corbyn] out‘ – and had to tell herself not to smile before telling her interviewer of her ‘incredibly difficult decision’

Ballots for the important election of three additional members to the NEC (National Executive Committee) started to go out to members on Thursday. On the same day, Ms Powell sent an email to all Manchester Central Labour members outlining her voting intentions:

lp izz email

Ms Powell does not ask members to vote the same way that she intends. She does, however, suggest that they have ‘an opportunity… not to slavishly follow a slate recommended by any faction‘.

This is especially significant this year when the only admitted ‘slate’ in the election is the ‘grassroots left’ slate supported by Momentum and other left-wing groups. While right-wing factions Labour First and Progress have supported three specific candidates – including Izzard – the candidates describe themselves as independents and Izzard himself insists he is not part of a slate.

Ms Powell also seems to hope that her email will guide others, as she ends it:

lp helpful

Ms Powell also tells her members that she intends to vote for Gurinder Singh Josan, who is supported by Progress and Labour First, and for local candidate Yasmine Dar, who is on the grassroots-left slate.


But there is an additional facet of interest: a series of donations by Eddie Izzard toward the costs of Lucy Powell’s constituency office and staff.

Ms Powell described Izzard as ‘a long standing friend of the constituency’. It appears that Mr Izzard’s friendship is concrete, as he has donated a total of almost £36,000 toward her office and staff costs over the last thirteen months, according to democracy site TheyWorkForYou:

lp izz donations.png

It’s arguable whether it’s appropriate in any circumstances for an MP to email members with details of his/her voting intentions in an important internal election. But in view of Mr Izzard’s financial support for Ms Powell’s office, local members have expressed concerns to the SKWAWKBOX about whether the email should have been sent at all.

Ms Powell commented:

I have known Eddie Izzard for 15 years since meeting him while I ran Britain in Europe, the pro-European campaign group. Our friendship is well known. Eddie has campaigned many times in Manchester and is popular amongst members of the CLP.

Over the last year Eddie has kindly supported a staff member in my office as I have one of the poorest and largest constituencies in the country and my staffing budget is hugely stretched. Eddie also made a very generous donation to Jeremy Corbyn’s general election campaign. Again, this is totally transparent.

Yasmine Dar, the one candidate from the grassroots slate supported by Ms Powell, received the most nominations from CLPs (constituency Labour parties) of all the candidates by some distance.

Eddie Izzard received the highest number of nominations of all the ‘independent’ candidates and looks to be the ‘independent’ candidate with the best chance of challenging the left-slate candidate with the fewest, Momentum’s Jon Lansman.

Edit: Ms Powell had provided comment before publication but an earlier draft of the article was published in error that did not contain her comment.

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  1. Well Jon Lansman and the two other Momentum candidates got my vote today. Tough cheese Eddie. You didn’t buy my vote.

  2. Lucy Powell is a Cooperative Party MP. I am not sure why Lucy lied in the video and said she is a Labour MP when she is in fact Cooperative Party MP.

    It is concerning that a person who associates themselves with the Labour Party for their own electoral benefit is guilty of undermining the Labour Party and of using Labour Party data to promote the election of a person they regularly receive cash from.

    This is just another example of the deceit and corrupt activity being engaged in by members of the Cooperative Party.

  3. Yasmine, Rachel & Jon – TICK.
    Centre-Left, Centre-Right or Right, you’re voting for serfdom and debt.
    Only the Left gives us a future.

  4. The cry from the centrist and Co-op MPs has – and continues to be – that Labour under Corbyn is not popular enough with the electorate.

    Only Lucy Powell and her allies are sensible enough to win over the uncommitted voters.

    It may be beneficial to recall the success which was the foundation of Lucy Powell’s electoral wisdom.

    She was imposed as a candidate on the Manchester Withington CLP prior to the 2010 elections – a CLP and area she had no previous association with. This was of course at the expense of “long standing community activists” in that CLP, but Lucy Powell never found that “wierd”.

    What was wierd was the subsequent election result. In a city with 99 Labour councillors Lucy Powell lost the Manchester Withington seat for Labour.

    Despite that performance she wass still apparently regarded as a suitable candidate and was appointed Manchester Central CLP candidate after the incumbent left to stand as Police Commissioner.

    Her ability to inspire the electorate was evident when she won the subsequent by-election, with the UK record for the lowest voter turnout in parliamentary history.

    Lucy Powell has never got round to articulating exactly how it is that she knows what will inspire the electorate more than anybody else.

    She has finally won a large majority in 2017 – coincidentally alongside the Corbyn surge.

  5. Lucy Powell is typical of those in the PLP who have been trying to steer the Labour Party away from its Socialist roots and therefore are completely out of touch with the membership and the policies of Jeremy Corbyn.

  6. I hope nobody will be rude enough to suggest we give Lucy the finger. Three crosses against Yasmine, Rachel & Jon on your ballot will be a suitably erudite response to her.

  7. Lucy Powell,Just another wannabe Tory who seems to have lost their way and joined the Labour Party! As for Izzard, he should stick at being an entertainer for his knowledge of socialism is obviously nil! Otherwise he would have saved his money and spent it more wisely! For instance, supporting the most Left Candidate he could find if he intended to stick with Labour! Otherwise, go Liberal, he’d have fitted in with these particular Social Democrats and losers who couldn’t keep a promise when they got a sniff (and it was only a sniff) of Governmental power!

  8. Dear Lucy Powell,
    Never in my lifetime would I vote for a rightwing candidate like yourself or any of your ilk!
    As for your money tree provider, only if he had been put forward via a leftwing MP or JEREMY HIMSELF!
    Yasmin, Racheal and Jon are my picks of the group!
    But for JEREMY and the LABOUR left voter giving you a massive win you would be a nowhere girl!

  9. I don’t find Eddie Funny.
    Or Lucy Socialist too.
    Need democratic selections.
    And 620 left wing democratic socialists would do.
    But this is only my opinion.

  10. If they knew that the poor, sick and disabled had died (and continue to die) because of Tory Austerity – but they did not care about that, then they are not ‘centrist’. I’m sorry… But that word is a lie.

    They are devoid of compassion which is a trait most commonly seen in the right or the far right.

    I have never found Eddie Izzard funny by the way. He is even less funny now – now that he’s worshiping at the neoliberalism altar. He must have shares in the railways and the utilities or something…

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