Analysis Breaking Exclusive

Exclusive: Labour’s contemptuous email disbands committee as party stitches up Kensington selection

London Labour sends sneering message to selection committee members as it seizes control of shortlisting process

The Labour party has again interfered in the selection process of the key London marginal seat of Kensington, after already ruling out popular former MP and champion of Grenfell Tower families Emma Dent Coad – this time seizing complete control of the shortlisting process and disbanding the entire selection committee to rule out the only remaining candidate considered on the left of the party.

And it has done so in an email dripping with contempt, flinging accusations – yet again appearing to weaponise antisemitism despite the party’s own Forde Report’s condemnation of it – at selection committee members and telling them they are all out of their roles ‘with immediate effect’:

Dear Selection Committee Member,

I am writing to you to raise some serious concerns and explain the remainder of the selection process in Kensington.

In summary, during the course of this process, we have had to: remove committee members due to leaks, remove the Procedural Secretary and other members for openly supporting candidates, commence a serious investigation into anti­semitism, suspend members due to anti­semitism, and cancel and reschedule a branch meeting because the CLP did not organise to accommodate large swathes of its membership.

It’s worth saying I believe this is a case where few have scuppered the chances of the rest of the committee taking part. I’m certain not everyone had a part to play in these mishaps.

Regardless of whether these incidents are due to lack of organisation or a blatant attempt to undermine the process, moving forward the Selection Committee is dissolved and all of you have been relieved of your duties with immediate effect.

The implication that there may have been ‘a deliberate attempt to undermine the process’ will be considered an interesting one by members, given the Labour regime’s appalling record of nobbling left candidates and depriving members of a say in who represents themkeeping local favourites off the longlist while leaking data to right-wingers and even giving Tory defector Christian Wakeford a free pass to reselection, unlike any other MP.

The party immediately used its seized control of the Kensington process to impose a shortlist of three right-wingers, including hard-right faction Labour First’s favourite Mete Coban – a list without Kaasim Ali, who was backed by the Kensington left after Dent Coad’s anti-democratic removal.

A spokesperson for the local party’s elected executive said:

Everyone on the CLP executive is united that this is an undemocratic and mischievous way of running an election, which even involved branches being presented with names of candidates who we found didn’t even know they were standing. This is an unashamed manipulation of democracy.

London region was recently also put in charge of the Liverpool West Derby selection process, after the north-west Labour official in charge refused to sign off on the initial trigger result because it was so corrupt, and was removed by the party. Similarly to Kensington, the party then went on to remove selection committee members it thought might favour left-wing incumbent Ian Byrne. The party shortlisted right-wing councillor Anthony Lavelle for the West Derby shortlist despite unanswered allegations of bullying and hate speech by Lavelle toward a young disabled woman.

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