Right’s claim purge of left is to ensure ‘quality’ candidates who can’t embarrass party is a sham
Momentum staffer Angus Satow has posted a thread of what he claims is ‘all’ the right-wing candidates that have been allowed to stand for selection by the Labour party despite being ‘scandal-hit’ – which he points out makes a mockery of the right’s excuse that their mass purge of left candidates is to remove those who might embarrass or bring disrepute on the party:
Satow’s observation is correct – and so desperate is the right to push this lie that some of its most tainted figures have recently been trying to blame former leader Jeremy Corbyn and the left for the selection of now-jailed former MP Jared O’Mara. However, O’Mara’s selection was in fact engineered by then-Labour general secretary Iain McNicol, now discredited by the Al Jazeera Labour Files documentary series (and much earlier by Skwawkbox), though the revelations have remained almost entirely ignored by the so-called ‘mainstream’ media.
But Satow’s list is far from ‘all’ – and in fact misses out some of the most egregious cases.
Redbridge council leader Jas Athwal was suspended by the party under Jeremy Corbyn. Athwal’s supporters, including the awful Wes Streeting, claimed that this was a factional move by the left to clear the way for Sam Tarry to win the selection in time for the 2019 general election. But in fact, Athwal had been accused of serious sexual assault – and well before the selection took place.
And so keen was the Labour right to install Athwal as candidate last year to oust Tarry that not only was the process thoroughly rigged by Labour in Athwal’s favour, but right-wingers on the party’s national executive ignored and overruled their own lawyer in order to throw out the allegations of serious sexual assault that had seen him suspended, going on to tout this as Athwal’s ‘exoneration’.
In Liverpool West Derby, the right’s desperation to remove popular left-winger Ian Byrne – MP of the Year – and install a right-wing drone in one of the country’s safest Labour seats led to a similarly rigged campaign to trigger a selection vote so severely that even the party official supposed to oversee the process refused to sign off on it and was replaced by a London hatchet-woman. Once the selection was triggered, the right then put local councillor Anthony Lavelle up to stand against Byrne.
But Lavelle was the subject of longstanding complaints concerning bullying and anti-disabled hate speech by a young student – allegations that the right-wing party machine had ignored when they were made and continued to ignore when Lavelle applied to stand for selection. That alleged hate-speech included ‘jokes’ about concentration camps, public mockery, calling her a ‘mistake’ and wishing her dead.
Despite the right’s shamelessness and continued rigging, however, the attempted coup failed and Byrne won the selection contest. However, even now the right continues to attack and smear both Byrne and his staff in an evident attempt to either drive him out, punish him for defeating them, or both.
Such scandals have been so widespread – at council level as well as parliamentary – that Labour selections have now become a byword for corruption, cronyism and the turning of blind eyes to right-wing malfeasance. Angus Satow’s list was a good start, but it was very, very far from being comprehensive.
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