Lauren Townsend – backed by CLPD, Momentum, Unite and others – comes in clear second place
A SKWAWKBOX poll that asked which two candidates members want to see on the left ‘slate’ for the NEC by-election has yielded an emphatic result – in spite of what appears to be an attempt to stack the poll by supporters of Momentum’s preferred pairing.
The 36-hour poll saw just under 2,700 votes cast, with Birkenhead’s Jo Bird a long way ahead of the field with over 40% of the vote and Lauren Townsend next on almost 30%.
Bird is backed by Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and Labour Representation Committee (LRC). Townsend is backed by both CLPD and Momentum.
Momentum’s other candidate, Leigh Drennan, initially showed in third place – just ahead of CLPD-backed Cecile Wright:
However, an examination of the IP addresses from which all the votes were cast revealed two instances of apparent attempts to stack the vote count in favour of the two candidates backed by Momentum – Manchester-based Drennan and Milton Keynes councillor Townsend.
Two pairs of related IP addresses had cast a large number of votes:
In every case, those votes had been cast, within a short period last Sunday, for Momentum’s preferred pair of candidates:
A lookup of the IP addresses reveals that the most active pair traces back to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with its office in the Hulme area of Manchester, while the less active pair is provided by an ISP in London.
When these stacked votes are removed from the count, Bird’s share of the total valid vote is increased and Townsend’s drops slightly but leaves her still clear in second place.
But Momentum’s other nominee, Leigh Drennan, loses more than a quarter of his original 278 votes and falls to last place:
The NEC by-elections are vital for the future direction of the party – and a united left ‘slate’ is essential if the die-hard right’s favourites are not to slip through the middle.
The poll of members – in spite of an attempt to influence the results – suggests that left members want the two names on that slate to be Jo Bird and Lauren Townsend.
Those are the two candidates that the SKWAWKBOX recommends left members must unite behind if it wants to win those two vital places and prevent the right gaining influence its numbers do not merit.
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