Analysis Breaking comment

Exclusive: while Byrne locked out of party comms, right-wing challenger able to email members

Left-wing incumbent West Derby MP Ian Byrne forced to use tweet to ask members to attend vote – while right-wing challenger is emailing campaign propaganda to members

Earlier today Skwawkbox reported that Anthony Lavelle – right-wing Labour staffer, councillor and alleged abuser of a disabled woman who wants to replace MP of the Year Ian Byrne in the Liverpool West Derby constituency – had issued a video in which the party’s regional director was shown, in an apparent implication that the director was endorsing his candidacy.

Lavelle subsequently removed the tweet and replaced the video with a new version minus the director – but still left in other local figures who are not backing his bid to become Labour’s candidate for the seat, including some who are actively backing Ian Byrne.

As a result of that earlier Skwawkbox article, local members have come forward to say that Cllr Lavelle had also emailed them the video as well as tweeting it.

On the same evening, incumbent MP Ian Byrne tweeted out a message to members asking them to attend their meeting to vote on his branch nomination – and informing them that he was being forced to resort to Twitter because the party has locked him out of ‘Organise’, Labour’s member communication system, leaving him unable to email them:

Under Labour’s rules, MPs are meant to have uninterrupted access to message members, because they are automatically on the shortlist to stand again in the seat.

The Labour party’s determination to remove Byrne has been signalled loud and clear, with the right even attacking him for his determination to fight poverty, and has seen the process conducted in a manner so unsound that Labour’s own official, appointed to oversee the initial ‘trigger’ process to decide whether there would be a selection, refused to sign off on the supposed result because of the extent of the issues with the votes.

Rather than investigate the official’s concerns, the party removed them and put the London regional office, hundreds of miles away but accused of extensive rigging and bias in that region – including allegations of a ‘criminal’ data leak to a favoured right-wing candidate – in charge instead.

In addition, Anthony Lavelle – close to various figures from the Labour hard right – was put onto the longlist despite allegations of serious bullying and ‘concentration camp’ hate speech toward a disabled woman that neither he nor the party have answered.

Now it appears that the party is allowing the right-wing Cllr Lavelle to send campaign messages to local members, while blocking the incumbent, highly popular and left-wing MP from direct communication with them – a massive disadvantage in the campaign.

Labour’s regional director and Cllr Lavelle were both contacted for comment on how this situation had come to pass, but did not pick up their phones and had not responded to text messages by the time of publication.

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