Steve Eling, the leader of Sandwell council in the West Midlands, is considered an ally of local MPs Tom Watson and John Spellar, who – to put it mildly – are no friends of the Labour left.
So it surprised a number of locals when he not only turned up at the event when left-wing MP Chris Williamson’s ‘Democracy Roadshow’ rolled into the area, but was photographed smiling with his arm around Williamson:
Warley is Spellar’s seat and Eling is a delegate to Warley CLP (constituency Labour party) from Brandhall Labour Club, which Spellar part-owns and which hosts his constituency office.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Mr Eling to ask about his attendance. It turns out that he and Williamson have known each other for over twenty years – but that Eling was not the only Brandhall representative at the event, as he told us – along with his opinion of the Roadshow, saying:
it was a good event which I thought was very well received.
Opponents have dubbed the series of events in constituencies around the country ‘the Deselection Roadshow’, although Williamson says that it is just intended to get Labour members excited about and engaged in the party’s democratic processes.
The news that others close – up to now at least – to Spellar were also at the event is interesting. One has to wonder whether they were there with his knowledge and blessing – and whether the MP and his other colleagues in the area will be thrilled to know the show’s message was ‘very well received’.
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