Controversial Wallasey MP faces member vote on whether she will have to fight to remain candidate
Wallasey MP Angela Eagle will face a trigger ballot, with the constituency’s executive meeting on Friday to agree the process on a vote to decide whether she will have to fight a selection battle to remain as the constituency’s candidate at the next election. A notice issued to members reads:
Wallasey CLP Exec members are invited to a meeting on Friday 11th February. There’ll just be one item on the agenda, the Wallasey CLP Trigger Ballot. A Regional Officer will run through the process with us and we’ll agree on a timetable.
The process is set out in a Procedures document which you can download here.
Our Affiliate bodies who will be able to participate in the process are Community, CWU, GMB, Unison, Unite, USDAW, Co-operative Party, Jewish Labour Movement, Labour Campaign for International Development, Labour Movement for Europe, Labour Party Irish Society, and Socialist Health Association.
The meeting will be on Zoom. Here’s the link.
Wallasey CLP Exec Meeting, Friday 11th February @ 7.30pm
Eagle must gain at least 50% of the member and affiliate votes to be automatically selected. Keir Starmer’s supporters on Labour’s national executive forced through rule changes to the trigger process. Under previous rules, only one in three needed to vote for a selection contest.
Ms Eagle has a turbulent recent history with her ‘CLP’, notably the ‘Brickgate’ fiasco when left members were accused of throwing a brick through her office window because of her opposition to Jeremy Corbyn – the window was not in her office, nor was there a brick and the path by the window is a notorious one for trouble from nearby pubs. The Labour report leaked last year on the conduct of right-wing party staffers confirmed that members had been ‘stitched up’ to protect the MP, with the CLP suspended for many months because of the false claims:
Emilie Oldknow and GLU staff discussed keeping Angela Eagle MP’s CLP suspended, at Eagle’s request, in order to give her team more time to organise against left-wing members before the AGM. [page 31]
Wallasey CLP was also suspended in July 2016. A year later, on 7 July 2017 Oldknow emailed Sam Matthews, the Head of Disputes, and Stolliday asking for an update on the situation…
Oldknow noted that the local MP Angela Eagle felt that, if the CLP’s suspension was lifted in the coming months, this would “not give her time to organise etc.”
Matthews responded with an update, and noted:
“I have every sympathy for the fact that Angela is still in a difficult situation as they are properly organised in her constituency – my worry is that based on track record, no matter how much time we give Angela (in practice Imran) to “organise”, so little work will go into it that we’ll end up getting asked to extend it further and further. At the moment, Imran [an Eagle staffer at the time] wants the suspension to remain in place until at least November, but I would be really worried about turning up to Disputes in October and having to report that Wallasey was still suspended because they haven’t held an AGM yet.
I would also be worried about them having the ammunition of going to
conference without a date being set for the AGM at the very least – I think that risks feeding an unhelpful narrative.”
This was an open discussion between senior GLU and GSO staff and Labour Party Executive Directors about ensuring that Angela Eagle and her allies were able to win at the AGM and other votes at the CLP, and about how they had been “giv[ing] Angela (in practice Imran)” “time” to “organise” to win those votes against the local Labour left.
It is telling that no-one appears to have had any hesitancy about openly discussing the factional role they were playing with other Labour HQ staff. [page 114]
Almost none of the media that had enthusiastically spread the smears against local members ever published a retraction or correction.
Eagle can no doubt bank on the support of right dominated affiliates such as the the Co-op party, Jewish Labour Movement, LCID, LPIS, LME, Usdaw and Community – but given her history with the CLP there is likely to be a motivated base of members keen to replace her. Unite and the CWU are less likely to support and there is a question mark over Unison, which now has a left-dominated exec despite its entrenched right-wing management.
Unlike in many CLPs, where the mass exodus of left members disgusted with Keir Starmer and his allies and often with interference from regional offices has meant the right retaking control of CLP structures, the left has retained its ascendancy in Wallasey – and last year defeated an attempt to have members congratulate Eagle on her damehood.
But if the party allows democracy to proceed – by no means a given under this regime – and members turn out, Angela Eagle faces a tense time.
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