Photos demonstrate link, though Bedser says he is not a member
Some Labour members in the West Midlands have disputed reports that former Dudley council leader Pete Lowe – who launched his campaign from the left – has involved right-wingers, including Labour First, in his campaign to become Labour’s candidate for West Midlands regional mayor.
The SKWAWKBOX has obtained photographic evidence that shows Lowe’s campaign manager Steve Bedser attending at least one major Labour First event – the right-wing pressure group founded by West Midlands MP and die-hard Corbyn opponent John Spellar.
The evidence consists of two pictures of Bedser – who positioned himself as a pro-Corbyn candidate for the last West Midlands mayoral contest before losing out to right-winger and close friend of Tom Watson, Sion Simon.
The first image shows him with Lowe at a campaign event – and the second shows Bedser listening to Spellar favourite Gurinder Singh Josan at a Labour First event a year ago, with anti-Corbyn hard-liner and soon to be Tory-made peer John Mann also visible:
Bedser is also treasurer of ‘The Forward Dining Club’, a West Midlands group said to be linked to Labour First:
The SKWAWKBOX approached Steve Bedser and Pete Lowe for comment. Mr Bedser denied being a member of Labour First but conceded that he had attended an ‘annual dinner’, which he said was part of his ‘working across the party’. He said The Forward Dining Club was a ‘broadly social group of broad Labour Party supporters’. He said he had ‘voted for the winner’ during the last Labour leadership election.
Pete Lowe did not deny that figures from the party’s right were involved in his campaign but declined to discuss individuals. He insisted that his campaign had played no part in recent media attacks on rival Salma Yaqoob and that he was running a positive campaign on a ‘radical, transformative socialist’ platform.
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