More claims by local members of party rigging to oust MP of the Year, including ballots sent out with no mention of deadline for voting
Liverpool West Derby MP – and national MP of the Year for his work fighting hunger – Ian Byrne, according to the Labour party, lost all of the branch ‘trigger’ meetings to decide whether he will face a selection contest. Contrary to the misreporting of some right-wing hacks, this does not yet mean that Byrne has been ‘triggered’ – the result of the votes among the constituency’s affiliated union and other affiliate branches will be decisive.
However, at the first meetings support for Byrne was reported as overwhelming by members who were present – yet the party declared each meeting’s vote count – conducted in secret and without the normal oversight and safeguards – to be narrowly against Byrne, with one ‘result’ leaked to a right-wing hack who tweeted it well before the vote had even closed. In each meeting – mandated by the party to be held online, contrary to usual procedure – members supportive of Byrne also said they were blocked from getting into the Zoom session.
This alleged rigging by the regional Labour office led to widespread outrage and complaints about tampering, including from Byrne himself. In what appeared to be an effort to silence protest, the party declared the result of the fourth and final branch vote to be heavily against Byrne.
But in the last meeting, members say that Byrne had massive support, with at least seventy pledges to vote for him among the eighty voters at the meeting and many of those attending holding up signs to say they were backing Ian Byrne. Ian Golder, a Byrne supporter who was able to get into the meeting, told Skwawkbox about the organisation that had gone on among the MP’s supporters before the session:
I’ve seen the result and find that very hard to understand . Many signs were held up in support of Ian and [we] had 70 pledges of support for Ian… [yet] I believe the result was 51-29.
Only three or so people argued against voting to keep Byrne as the candidate automatically.
Golder also tweeted about the ‘overwhelming’ support for Byrne in the meeting:
Other Byrne supporters – as has been the case at all of the Zoom votes – say they were denied access, with some tweeting publicly about it:
Late ballots and no voting deadline provided
Another tactic on show in the latest meeting and presumably used in others appeared to be to send the ballots as close to the noon deadline as possible – with no mention of the noon deadline, as this example shows:
Despite the seventy-plus people in the meeting who had confirmed that they would vote to keep Ian Byrne as the party’s candidate, the party declared that the vote had gone against Byrne by a massive 51-29.
Whether Ian Byrne will face a contest – which many believe will be similarly unsound if it happens – will now depend on the outcome of the votes among union branches and other affiliated groups. Unwilling to leave anything to chance, there has been a large affiliation drive by right-wing unions and hostile, mis-named ‘socialist societies’ dominated by the Labour right.
The company that runs the ‘Anonyvoter’ system is owned by right-wing Labour councillors close to Keir Starmer’s general secretary David Evans. The firm’s director did not respond to a request for comment about the absence of a voting deadline from its West Derby emails.
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