Emergence of questions over history of shady group’s favoured candidate and sour grapes at popularity of black woman candidate from the left prompted decision to set fire to process, say Labour insiders
The SKWAWKBOX earlier announced the breaking news that the Labour party had barred all three shortlisted women candidates from the party’s selection process to stand for Labour in May’s mayoral election. A right-stacked panel had made the decision and emailed members without even informing the prospective candidates.
One of the three had come under scrutiny over connections to a firm with unaccounted cash income and outgoings and which had awarded £20,000 to an organisation that then used it to employ her daughter. But the decision to bar all the candidates – including the popular left-winger Anna Rothery, who would have become the UK’s first black woman mayor if selected – has provoked outrage among Labour members and anti-racism activists in Liverpool and around the country.
Now, the SKWAWKBOX can reveal that the decision to abort the process and rule out Rothery has been driven by an ‘unholy alliance’ of right-wingers with the north-west ‘fixers’ who have previously been referred to as a Labour ‘mafia’ because of their tactics in stacking selection contests in favour of their preferred candidates – and a prominent Labour figure with designs on the party’s national leadership position.
One insider told SKWAWKBOX:
The right didn’t want a pro-Corbyn Mayor and got into bed with people who style themselves left but are all about building their own power base, a real unholy alliance. When they realised they were not going to be able to get their favourite through, they decided to set fire to the whole thing and start again and to hell with the racism it shows or the reputational damage it will cause the candidates or the party.
Another corroborated the information:
The right didn’t want Rothery, especially after she came out for Jeremy [Corbyn]’s reinstatement. And the mafia linked to [MP with leadership ambitions] saw their own pick was blown and had never been as popular as they’d assumed in the first place. With all those ambitions looking set to be thwarted and a plan B candidate in their pocket, they blew the whole thing apart.
The ‘mafia’ group is believed to have alternative candidates lined up that they hope to force through in the re-started shortlisting process – while the Labour right wants to run down the clock by delaying the process until the mayoral election is so close that the now right-dominated National Executive Committee (NEC) can impose a candidate to their liking.
The ‘mafia’ group has increasingly been building alliances with factions who backed Yvette Cooper for the leadership in 2015 and Lisa Nandy in 2019/20. Its aim is to turn the north-west into a power-base ready for when a senior, notionally-‘soft left’ MP with whom the group is closely aligned launches a bid for the national party leadership.
The interests and wishes of Labour members in Liverpool are of no relevance to the people involved in these manoeuvres.
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