Progress founder’s leaflet includes Tom Watson’s ex-driver – who tried unsuccessfully to defect to Tories
A leaflet put out by Liam Byrne, co-founder of the right-wing pressure group Progress, to promote his bid to become Labour’s candidate for the position of West Midlands mayor includes an endorsement by a Sandwell councillor who has recently tried to join the Tory party.
Bill Gavan, who acted as Tom Watson’s driver, was reported to have quit the Labour whip last spring. He subsequently denied having quit in spite of several councillors insisting he had done so during a meeting of the council’s Labour group, but then this year applied to join the Conservatives. The Tories are reported to have declined his application.
However, a leaflet issued by Byrne still names Gavan as one of his endorsements:
A leaflet distributed in Warley constituency also includes – alongside such Labour right figures as Tom Watson and Labour First’s serial NEC candidate Gurinder Singh Josan, ‘Councillor’ Keith Davies:
However, Davies was one of a number of councillors deselected before last year’s local elections. The SKWAWKBOX also understands that he does not live in the Warley constituency.
Liam Byrne was contacted for comment about the leaflets, but had not responded by the time of publication.
Byrne was criticised yesterday for another leaflet, which a local MP complained was misleading about which candidate his local members had nominated. Byrne said he was ‘perplexed and mystified’ how the leaflet could be seen as misleading.
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