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In recent days I’ve had a lot of people asking me why I haven’t written about the Labour Party selection process. That’s because a number of my friends are running for seats and I haven’t wanted to interfere in the process or be accused of being biased.
However Paul Waugh at Huffpo, Kevin Schofield at PoliticsHome and many other outlets have written about the situation in detail.
I knew most of this information but chose not to publish it.
Tonight it was announced the GMBs Stephanie Peacock has won Barnsley East, Nottingham Councillor Alex Norris has won Nottingham North, ex-NEC member Ellie has won Lewisham West and Councillor Emma Hardy has won Hull West and Hessle.
My phone battery reduced by 80% in 30 minutes as I was besieged with briefing and counter briefing by different sides.
In the last few days significant behind the scenes maneuvering has been going on to decide who will win each seat.
As reported by Paul Waugh, a detailed deal has been hammered out between the unions, led by the Political Director at Unite the Union, Anneliese Midgley, and at Director of External Affairs at GMB, Lisa Johnson.
This is why today’s shock news that the TSSA's Sam Tarry had lost in Hull West came as a surprise to many.
Many senior sources reported that Mr Tarry had “bombed” the interview but sources close to Mr Tarry were apoplectic that in their opinion the deal had been broken and felt that Mr Tarry would have been a very strong candidate. My information is that Hull West was one of the seats that Jeremy’s office was promised as part of the deal.
The NEC panel that decided the selection was Keith Birch of Unison, Ann Black and Glenis Willmott MEP. Even though it’s reported Tarry had a very bad interview, a contention strongly refuted by Tarry's camp, union figures were already pointing the finger at Keith Birch.
Many of Labour moderates were fiercely opposed to Mr Tarry because of his close links to Jeremy Corbyn. I understand that Alan Johnson was deeply unhappy with the choice of Mr Tarry and allies of Tom Watson also opposed Tarry.
Labour’s selections continue over the next 2 days. Paul Waugh reported that Anneliese Dodds MEP will be selected in Oxford East, Mark Ferguson will be selected in Blaydon and Laura Pidcock in Durham North West. As of publication of this article I believe Paul's information be accurate. Negotiations however are still continuing so theres a liklihood that it may well change.
Jeremy Corbyn's Political Secretary Katy Clark is running in Leigh, but my understanding is the panel is not favourable to her and many still want local Councillor Jo Platt to win.
With Labour’s poll position not currently looking positive, many in the party have been focusing on who will win in safe seats.