Progress founder Byrne to bid for WM Mayor slot – Momentum/Lansman deny backing

Shadow Digital Economy Minister Liam Byrne to announce bid to become Labour’s candidate for West Midlands Metro Mayor on BBC today

Former Treasury minister and current Shadow minister Liam Byrne is expected to announce his bid to become Labour’s candidate for the position of West Midlands ‘metro mayor’ during an appearance on this lunchtime’s BBC Sunday Politics West Midlands.

It is not the first time he has attempted to win the candidacy. In 2012 Byrne resigned from Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet to make a similar bid to become the party’s candidate as the first directly-elected mayor of Birmingham.

Byrne was Chief Secretary to the Treasury who, when Labour lost the 2010 general election, left a traditional jokey note for his Tory successor apologising that there was no money left. The Tories have exploited the note as serious ever since to shore up the myth of Labour overspending.

Controversially, Labour sources believe that Byrne – a co-founder of the right-wing pressure group Progress – may be supported in his bid by Momentum, or at least by founder Jon Lansman, in order to position a Lansmanite candidate as Byrne’s successor in Birmingham Hodge Hill. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has also been mentioned as offering support.

The likely left prospects for the position are former Dudley council leader Pete Lowe – who stepped down from the Dudley role last November in order to focus on ‘other political priorities’, believed to be his own bid for the metro role – and Birmingham councillor Majid Mahmood, who resigned recently from the council’s cabinet over the council’s treatment of low-paid refuse collectors.

Liam Byrne and Jon Lansman have been contacted for comment.

Edit: Lansman and Momentum both subsequently denied the reports. Their comments can be read here.

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  1. It is all over for Jon Lansman if he supports the Progress founder. His credibility and reputation are already in tatters after his divisive tactics during his failed campaign to become general secretary.

    He will most likely end his political career by supporting a Blairite like Byrne. He could well drag down Momentum with him too.

    It is starting look like Momentum was really a vehicle designed for the benefit of Jon Lansman’s career to help him slide up the greasy pole rather than a vehicle to help Mr Corbyn become prime minister.

    1. Sadly true . It is quite noticeable that the MSM no longer even pretend that Momentum is “Corbyn’s Red Guard” or “a bunch of Trotskyist infiltrators” as they constantly did in its early days – before the totally undemocratic Lansman coup turned it into little more than a nationwide canvassing resource and voting bloc for Lansman’s backstairs deals. Let us not forget either Lansman’s personal ambition to be the new General Secretary making him perfectly willing to give up his vital NEC seat on this ten knife-edge balanced key body, to what would have been a guaranteed (Eddie Izzard at that time) Right Wing replacement . This latest story, if true, will confirm that Lansman smply cannot give up the dire “smoke filled back rooms deal making” that occupied the old Labour Left for 30 years during the long night of neoliberal hegemony. Tragic that the potential socialist dynamo force that Momentum could have been – with its members actively engaged in solid socialist education, has degenerated in this way. We will pay in blood later down the line for this emasculation of Momentum into a passive top-down canvassing force – when a Left Labour government under pressure from the global markets and business sabotage, needs a mass supporting , politically savvy, movement out on the streets and in the workplaces .

    2. It was Landsman who pushed for full acceptance of IHRA definitions, and was arguably out of alignment with the rest of Momentum on this.

      Then there was his coup of Momentum (10/01/2017) where he simply abolished all democratic and decision making structures. He then wrote a new constitution that no one could amend. They could only vote yes or no.

      He also threw Jackie Walker to the wolves, and claimed that “a period of silence from Ken Livingstone is overdue” (who pointed out historical fact over a coin).

      Finally, he wanted the compliance unit kept in place, and for it to remain as an appointed body, instead of disciplinary matters dealt with by elected representatives, who would be subject to scrutiny by Labour members.

      1. The socialists in landentum will be staunch regardless of their elites. Regards

    3. Hullo IT. You have hit the bull’s eye. I have been posting ad nauseum about this guy. Nice one. Regards

  2. I could be wrong…..& I realise that I am probably joining up the dots the wrong way BUT………..Blairite Byrne used to work for a certain famous Merchant Bank & is a member of Friends of Zion, sorry Israel. Lansman is not the only powerful lobbyist running the Labour Party….beware Momentum.

    1. You are “joining up the dots” as only someone obsessed with a very dodgy belief in a fictional ” international Zionist conspiracy” would, steve richards. You need professional help, lad . Lansman’s self-centred opportunism and longstanding dodgy backstairs deal-making is all about Lansman – not Zionism, Israel, Jewish bankers, or any of that conspiraloon tosh.

      1. Steve wasn’t “joining up the dots” re Lansman and an “international Zionist conspiracy” he was talking about Byrne,who I wouldn’t trust as far as I could spit in a force ten headwind.He did ,quite rightly,as others have done here, make reference to Lansman’s personal lobbying on the back of Momentum members,who have no say in what he Lansman says or does.So read more carefully before you make sweeping accusations next time jpenny.

      2. @Jpenney Occam’s razor…If it walks like a duck etc

      3. Before I seek professional help with reference to any obsession that I may suffer, may I ask one or two further questions? Is there anything factually incorrect in what I wrote? I mentioned that Liam Byrne was a member of Labour Friends of Israel, but that was the only reference to Zionism. I never mentioned which International Merchant Bank Byrne worked for, it appears that you have joined up the dots.

        My primary criticism is with reference to Lansman, but it appears to be a small world. It would appear that the paranoia is not mine.

  3. Bourgeois wheeling and dealing from those at the top of Momentum?
    It needs democratising to be more bottom up and a more democratic system is needed for choosing the Left NEC slate.

  4. Beware personal ambitions dressed up as political principles.
    I’m not sure how much more of this Momentum can take without losing the last shred of credibility.
    I’ll only trust them when they introduce a little democracy – at the moment, it’s like a sort of ‘left wing when it suits us’ version of the Freemasons.

  5. The main issue, however, is the whole concept of ‘metro mayors’ – a top-down, Tory constitutional revision that has not been put to the public.

    Note that the desire for coherence across the majority of Yorkshire has been been brushed aside – too threatening to have properly effective regional authorities.

    1. ”The main issue, however, is the whole concept of ‘metro mayors’ – a top-down constitutional revision that has not been put to the public.”

      Sounds suspiciously similar the EU commission, to me…

      1. Labour under Corbyn really ought to set about abolishing directly elected Mayors. Democratic socialism should be about collective leadership accountable to the Party as a whole, not an emphasis on an individual.

      2. Actually : No.

        Metro mayors aren’t the result of any treaty; like austerity, the idea is wholly home grown.

  6. “Byrne was Chief Secretary to the Treasury who, when Labour lost the 2010 general election, left a traditional jokey note for his Tory successor apologising that there was no money left. The Tories have exploited the note as serious ever since to shore up the myth of Labour overspending.”

    Reginald Maudling had a similar message for Jim Callaghan in 1964 but he was not stupid enough to write it down!

    How to challenge the myth that Labour spent too much:


  7. I am entirely unsurprised at Momentum getting into bed with Progress. From the outset they were a Left-liberal not a socialist outfit, in other words they were very determined to preserve the capitalist system and to interpret Corbynism accordingly.

    And liberalism is at base profoundly authoritarian, as the infamous Momentum coup amply showed.

  8. I quit momentum because of lansman antics and now wait for him to resign or put himself up for election before even thinking about rejoining.
    A lot of good socialist in it BUT Lansman is a problem for those who are genuine and he needs to go or correct his antidemocratic actions

  9. I’ve always believed separate power bases are the opposite of socialism and I’d get rid of regional mayors completely.
    Pointless and ridiculously expensive to add extra layers of government when we have too many already – they just compete against each other for power, kudos, funding, services and everything else.
    MP’s represent the people and all competing structures are wasteful, bound to lead to problems and only useful to Tories who want to shift the blame for cuts and incompetence away from themselves.
    All people deserve a fair shake wherever they live and central government is best placed to decide which regions are most in need of regeneration and redistribution (Labour government, obviously)
    We should make dumping the super-mayors a plank of our manifesto.

  10. Oh, and while we’re at it dump Momentum and de-affiliate the unions, JLM and every other double-dealing partisan lobby group.
    That’s only if we think we might want to get some actual socialist shit done, obviously – keep them if you’re not bothered about that.

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