Analysis Breaking Exclusive

Exclusive: Worried Labour working with fined right-wing group to fight success of independent candidates

Labour invites members to ‘Convention on beating independents and smaller parties’

Worried: Keir Starmer and the Labour right

Despite current polling and the associated bluff and bluster of the Labour right, the party regime appears to be worried that the rise of candidates from ‘independent and smaller parties’ threatens its electoral chances – enough to be organising special ‘convention’ events to try to combat their success.

An email from Labour’s north-west regional director reminds ‘colleagues’, with some urgency, to attend training at such a convention in Manchester next weekend:

REMINDER – Training

Dear colleague

I’d like to invite you to an invite-only “Convention on Beating Independents and Smaller Parties” in Manchester on Saturday 14th January 2023. 

Please register here.

Over several cycles, independent and smaller parties have been gaining ground in local and general elections across the North West. That trend looks set to continue before the next general election – unless we meet the challenge.

This Convention will bring together MPs, Mayors, councillors, activists, and organisers from across the North West. We will share practical lessons about what works and how, together, we can win and get Labour in power across the region. We’ll explore good practice and help you to develop thought through plans to win elections.

The event will be on the morning of 14th January 2023 at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester from 09:00 – 13:30. It will be jointly hosted by North West Labour, NW TULO, and Labour Together, and will involve activists and organisers from Labour, unions, and affiliates from across the NW.

An agenda will be announce in the new year. Please register early to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me or Josh Simons from Labour Together (redacted).

Please register early to join us.

I hope that you have a good Christmas and new year.

Best wishes,

Liam Didsbury
Regional Director North West Labour Party

The event appears to have been arranged in conjunction with ‘Labour Together’, a limited company no official affiliation to the party. While Labour Together’s website says it exists to draw together ‘Labour members and supporters of every tradition’ it is, or has been, run by some of the most entrenched right-wingers close to Keir Starmer – including front-benchers Steve Reed and Lisa Nandy, anti-Corbyn Starmer campaign and Rachel Reeves donor Trevor Chinn and Starmer’s former chief of staff Morgan McSweeney, who – according to his friend, fellow right-wing hardliner and former Newcastle council leader Nick Forbes:

doesn’t have room for compromise with the hard Left. He thinks they need to be eradicated from the party because they are so dangerous.

Labour Together was recently fined £14,000 by the Electoral Commission for failing to properly declare some £800,000 in donations. The company also recently hosted a Tory MP at its Labour conference fringe event to amplify the Tories’ non-existing ‘levelling up agenda’.

While left-wingers are excluded from standing as candidates or are even expelled altogether, on the most vaporous and retrospective grounds the party can come up with, it’s clear that being fined for improper handling of donations is no bar to right-wingers having ongoing involvement in the running of the Labour party under ‘Keith’.

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