Mass abstentions in protest at rigging of selections leaves Labour’s Anfield campaign in chaos and at risk
The ‘safest Labour ward in the country’ is under threat this morning after members’ outrage triggered a mass boycott of a by-election selection meeting and a mass abstention among those who did attend – and an absolute shambles of a process that left Labour’s regional official with egg on his face.
Anger at Labour’s imposition of only outside, right-wing candidates and allies of the city mayor on Anfield ward in the Liverpool Walton constituency caused the vast majority of the ward’s Labour members to boycott the meeting entirely, with only some ten attending, mostly on behalf of the absent members to report what happened.
The official opened the meeting by telling the handful of voting members that they should consider themselves lucky to be able to select from such a
high calibre of candidate.
Those words didn’t age well for even half an hour.
“They’re in ****ing Everton”
Of the candidates on offer, two allies of the mayor talked about projects and organisations in the ward – that were not in the ward, sparking mutterings of ‘They’re in ****ing Everton’ and a general level of disbelief among members.
In the end, all but two of the ten voting members formally abstained. The regional official denied members a breakdown of the vote when it was requested, saying:
We don’t want it to be seen that the branch doesn’t endorse the candidate.
In the end, thanks apparently to a couple of ‘sleeping’ members turning up who are not normally seen at meetings, a former councillor from the south end of the city – Anfield is in the north – ‘won’ the selection.
‘The safest ward in the safest constituency’
A disbelieving member told Skwawkbox after the meeting closed:
I’ve never seen this level of anger before. Members for fifty years and more boycotting the process and won’t be campaigning. The safest ward in the country in the safest constituency in the country is going to be under threat.
The mayor’s allies who were hoping to be selected were embarrassing and the one who won is from bloody Cressington!
Unlike Labour’s offering, Liberal candidate Steve Radford is Anfield-based and is said to be widely known among residents. In the circumstances and with Labour set to have next to no ground campaign, Radford must consider he has a strong chance.
Labour’s assault on democracy and Keir Starmer’s contempt for the city of Liverpool and the Labour members who live in it may be about to come home to roost. And ironically, given Starmer’s addiction to non-opposition, a meeting in which a majority abstained looks set to be the warning signal.
Update: some sources have said that twelve attended and three voted, with nine abstentions.
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