Sandwell heartland of Labour right has large number of new councillors – and new council leader from left is expected. Is latest resignation sign of right’s ongoing collapse?
The Labour right has seen a succession of earthquakes in its West Midlands Sandwell heartland – investigations by Labour’s National Executive (NEC), the ongoing suspension of then-council leader Steve Eling in spite of the efforts of local MP and Labour deputy leader Tom Watson to protect him, the deselection of right-wing councillors, data breaches and much more.
In last week’s local elections, a new and largely younger batch of councillors was elected – including Eling’s replacement in his Abbey ward. Eling’s replacement as council leader resigned – and it looks like the new council leader will be from the left of the party.
This week, the change appears to be continuing. The SKWAWKBOX understands that Cllr Paul Moore – who worked as Tom Watson’s office manager – has resigned from the council cabinet and has handed in his notice to Watson, reportedly to take up a job working for a charity.
Moore was a significant figure of the Labour right in Sandwell. Last year, he was one of two councillors reported to have visited the homes of new Asian members of the Labour party to quiz them about their reasons for joining, after Watson was said to have been concerned about a membership influx.
Local Labour activists consider this a sign of the further unravelling of the right’s power base – in a borough that local right-wing MPs were seen for years as ruling with a rod of iron.
Cllr Moore was contacted for comment but did not respond.
The wheels are coming off the right-wing Labour bandwagon in Sandwell. Is this double-resignation by a key Watson helper a signal of more to come?
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