Labour right-winger’s tweet re Corbyn-supporting councillors triggers outrage
Luke Akehurst, secretary of right-wing pressure group Labour First, has triggered a horrified reaction from Labour supporters by tweeting that a letter signed by hundreds of Labour councillors provides a ‘useful list for future reference:
Akehurst’s comment – heavily ‘ratioed’, giving an idea of its unpopularity – was criticised variously as ‘chilling’, ‘sinister’, ‘threatening’, ‘dangerous’. ‘McCarthyite’ and putting the safety of councillors at risk when they are out campaigning. It was also described on multiple occasions as ‘Stalinist’.
Aaron Bastani is correct, Akehurst does. He has a long and recent history – dozens of tweets at least – of attacking any attempt by the left to organise to replace right-wing councillors or MPs as exactly that:
Earlier this week, Akehurst told the SKWAWKBOX that deselecting MPs – or councillors – is ‘destructive’:
Deselecting an MP is an inherently extreme and controversial move. If it happens anywhere it will damage Labour’s reputation locally and nationally and could lead to seats being lost if deselected MPs choose to run as independents.
I’m not in favour of deselecting councillors either. Generally it is a destructive and divisive thing to do and there are always enough vacancies through retirement to accommodate fresh talent.
He was contacted again for specific comment on his ‘useful list’, but had not responded by the time of publication.
While it’s surely hard to imagine the Labour right being hypocritical, or using any term of attack for convenience or expediency, it does look a little like Mr Akehurst is applying double standards.
It’s difficult to believe, but could it be possible this is part of a widespread phenomenon and not merely a one-off – and that when Labour right figures complain to the media it’s merely a cynical form of politically-expedient abuse?[¹]
[¹ Tongue firmly in cheek.]
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