Exclusive: Unite has already endorsed first affirmative-ballot selection candidate


The dust has barely settled on the decision of Labour conference delegates to approve a new, easier process for Labour members to have a selection process and elect a new parliamentary candidate – and already one of Labour’s most staunchly pro-Corbyn unions has moved to help members make use of the new rules.

The SKWAWKBOX has learned that Unite has already endorsed a popular would-be candidate for a selection battle to oust one of Labour’s least pleasant, most high-profile and most unpopular MPs at the next election.

The identity of the MP – and of the challenger – are known to this blog but cannot be released just yet. However, the move will encourage Labour members that the new threshold of 33% of branches – and the new, drastically-reduced quorum – are no barrier to members exercising the democratic power that the rule-change has put into their hands.

More are likely to follow in short order.

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  1. one of Labour’s least pleasant, most high-profile and most unpopular MPs . About 6 come to mind instantly. So many to choose from but my number one has to be Labour “grandee” Margaret Hodge.

  2. Streeting, Joan Ryan, Mann, Jess Phillips, Bradshaw and Berger must be the top candidates.

  3. Will be great to see the democratic rules tried out against Margaret, Jess, Chris L, Joan, Chuka and co’. Time for real socialists to have the chance to represent us all.

  4. What does an endorsment do? Is it also 33% of the unions that could trigger a new selection?

  5. “The other major problem is that the Trigger Ballot cannot be kicked off by members. It requires the incumbent MP to announce they wish to stand for re-election to ‘trigger’ it. So unless the NEC issues a ruling requiring all MPs to make such a declaration by a set date the incumbent has total control over when any Trigger ballot would take place”
    To quote our in house lawyer Duncan Shipley Dalton.

    “Unite has already endorsed a popular would-be candidate for a selection battle to oust one of Labour’s least pleasant, most high-profile and most unpopular MPs at the next election.”

    Who, why, when, where? What does any of the above mean?

    As journalists you do leave much to be desired Skwawk.

      1. The quorum change has zero relevance to the issue of how to START a ‘Trigger ballot’. The change to 33% of Party Branches ‘and’ affiliates does slightly improve a bad mechanism. The problem still remains that no change was made to how to start a ‘Trigger Ballot’. The rule at 5.IV.5 – “If the sitting MP wishes to stand for re-election a trigger ballot will be carried out…”

        Unless a sitting MP declares they wish to run again, or a boundary change kicks in, or the NEC sets a timetable for selection in a constituency it is impossible under the rules for local members to force a Trigger ballot to take place. The mechanism is improved but the power to kick it off is in the hands of the PLP themselves and/or the NEC.

        If we get to the 2022 fixed term then the NEC would no doubt have to set timetables for selections in all seats but until then there is no possible way to shift any of the PLP unless the NEC takes action.

        What if we get a snap election next year? Unless the NEC shows intent to immediately start selections across a lot of seats then my guess is no one is getting ousted and it will be pretty much the same PLP all over again.

        Not to mention if you take a close look at a lot of the PPCs already selected in the 76 marginals (including my own) you will find a good few Progress/Labour First supported bad apples. So even the possible new PLP intake are to an extent adulterated.

        I am sorry to say this but as far as I can see the change to the Trigger Ballot was a sop to the strong feeling amongst members about the PLP but the control is still very much in the hands of the NEC and the PLP themselves. Its biggest use now is as an extra leverage for the leadership who can threaten to kick off a selection in the constituency of recalcitrant MPs. That may be helpful but has limited time value and is a one shot threat. In my view the realistic position is that the PLP is not going to substantially change unless we get out to the end of the fixed term in 2021/22. How likely is that?

      2. Thanks Duncan , I wonder just how much the members of the NEC and Momentum ( Lansman ) knew about this angle before withdrawing support for OS.
        I guess the only power we members have is in the electing of NEC members who support OS . I don’t know about anyone else but I am sick to death of the power in the party being in the hands of the FEW AND NOT THE MANY !

    1. Surely that doesn’t mean suitable alternative PPCs can’t be chosen by the CLPs and all the other hurdles sorted before the incumbent declares an intention to stand again.
      Would not look good for the incumbent if they then didn’t declare their intentions as would be perceived as a delaying tactic to postpone the inevitable.

  6. Why do I have the feeling that what seemed like a move in the right direction to democratise the party, is about to go pear shaped?

  7. If I believed in a flying spaghetti monster,
    I would prey it was Joan Ryan at this point……..

  8. Just one? Should be getting on for a-hundred-and-one, by now.

    Still – it’s a start, I s’pose.

  9. C’mon Skwawky, gizza clue, eh??

    Male or female MP? Region? Co-operative? (That’ll be a given)

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