Posted by Mike Joslin, WriteYou · March 04, 2017 11:59 PM
This article is one of a series as part of WriteYou's coverage of Manchester Gorton, you can see the coverage here. Help WriteYou grow by supporting our powerful platform for independent fearless non partisan journalism here.
Earlier this week I wrote a story that Jeremy Corbyn’s office was supporting Sam Wheeler, the high profile Momentum activist, to replace Sir Gerald Kaufman in Manchester Gorton. Paul Waugh at the Huffington Post reported a similar story.
Posted by Mike Joslin, WriteYou · March 03, 2017 9:54 PM
Following my exclusive article earlier today about Manchester Councillor Kate Chappell triggering a by-election, she has been in touch to confirm the story.
She has denied accusations made to me by over a dozen Manchester political figures that she had been bullied.
Here is her full statement:
It is my intention to resign from Manchester City Council but it is not at all true that I've been bullied by members of Rusholme branch or that I feared deselection. The people who said that to you are mistaken.
Posted by Mike Joslin, WriteYou · March 01, 2017 10:00 PM
Here is a piece on runners and riders in Manchester Gorton for the Labour Party selection. There are around 2,000 members eligible to vote. If you know someone running message me at email@example.com. There are numerous other Gorton articles that can be viewed on the main page of the site.
Posted by Mike Joslin, WriteYou · February 28, 2017 8:26 PM
*Breaking* After this article was published we received reports that Afzal Khan's Manchester office has been bricked by masked youths.
Today the battle for Manchester Gorton intensified following the sad passing of Sir Gerald Kaufman on Sunday.
My understanding from senior sources is that there are moves for the seat to be a woman, if as expected the by-election is on the same day as the local elections. A senior union source told me, “it would be ******* mad” for the candidate to be a white man, given that Andy Burnham is also a white man. Another local Labour source told, "This selection is an opportunity to ensure Manchester Parliamentarians are as diverse as the city they represent".
Posted by Mike Joslin, WriteYou · February 27, 2017 8:00 PM
A few weeks ago I wrote a detailed article about the shadow campaign in Manchester Gorton.
Following the very sad passing of Sir Gerald Kaufman multiple sources have told me that Councillor Mike Amesbury, Afzal Khan MEP, Councillor Julie Reid and Momentum activist Sam Wheeler are making moves to stand already. Wheeler is being aggressively supported by Jeremy Corbyn’s office. It’s likely that Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar and Councillor Luthfur Rahman will also stand. The selection is likely to be bitter and acrimonious, judging by the text messages I’ve already received about rival candidates. Campaigning started earlier this morning and all sides are engaging in aggressive manoeuvring.
At this stage Khan must be seen as the front runner. The New Statesman reported earlier that Khan and Reid were potential candidates. The Huffington Post has reported that Sam Wheeler is being supported by people close to Jeremy Corbyn.
Posted by Mike Joslin, WriteYou · February 27, 2017 2:51 PM
I run a live blog of events in politics, particularly the inner workings of the Labour Party (this live blog is not in support of the Labour Party, WriteYou is a non-partisan site). If you enjoy this coverage please click here to help fundraise to take the site to the next level. If you want to send me a tip email firstname.lastname@example.org. We publish tips on this page under "Westminster Reporters".
4:46pm 6th March
I understand that Rebecca Long-Bailey has been removed from the shortlisting panel for Manchester Gorton. The panel is Keith Vaz, Glenis Willmott, Claudia Webbe, Andi Fox and Shabana Mahmood.
9:22 pm 2nd March
This email was sent out today by North West Regional Director Anna Hutchinson. The Regional Office didn't return phone calls.
Dear Branch officers and campaign co-ordinators
The whole of the Labour Party mourns the passing of Sir Gerald Kaufman, but I know that this will be most keenly felt by those in Manchester, Gorton CLP where he will be sorely missed.
However, I am also very aware that you will have questions regarding the by-election which will now follow and so I wanted to provide you with an update.
Firstly, I want to reassure you that the Parliamentary by-election selection will be carried out in the normal way for Parliamentary by-elections, with the Gorton members selecting the candidate from a shortlist agreed by the NEC. The timetable for the selection and the date for the by-election are yet to be agreed, but I will ensure that you are kept up to date. In making preparations for both the selection and election, I would be extremely grateful for your help and support. The selection process will be arranged by the regional office, however, I would welcome suggestions for a venue that will hold up to 2000 people. Invitations will be sent by post to all members at the relevant point in the timetable and an email will go out to members when the selection process begins.
We are currently working on a tribute leaflet to go out to voters this weekend. The delivery is being arranged through Bernard Priest and your help and support is greatly appreciated.
Finally, as there is much to discuss, I would like to invite you to a meeting next Wednesday (8th March). The meeting will be held at 7.30pm at a venue to be confirmed. I will send out confirmation of the venue as soon as I have it.
I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday and in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Labour North West
8:35pm 28th February
EXCLUSIVE: Afzal Khan MEPs office has been bricked by masked youths in Guy Fawkes Vendetta masks. Police have been called.
Posted by Mike Joslin, WriteYou · February 23, 2017 3:53 PM
I am running a live blog of events in Stoke and Copeland By-Elections, reporting on events on the Labour campaign (this live blog is not in support of the Labour Party, WriteYou is a non-partisan site). If you enjoy this coverage please click here to help fundraise to take the site to the next level.
03:00 - Labour lose Copeland. And the results show clearly that UKIP voters trended Tory and Labour voters trended Lib Dems. This is a deep question that Labour has to answer in order to win. More on this tomorrow.
02:30 - Labour win Stoke. As Adam Bienkov points out this result is further evidence that Lib Dems & Tories are a bigger threat to Labour than UKIP.
John Curtice — Labour have seriously misread their Brexit problem. Most of the votes they've lost since referendum have been to Lib Dems.
00:23 Turnout in Copeland 51.35% much higher than expected. This means PVs are roughly the same as 2015, meaning that Labour didn't manage to get more than 2015 onto PVs. The question then is who turned out to vote.
00:16 Turnout of 38.16% in Stoke would indicate the information we reported earlier that Labour sources were predicting as much as a 3-5,000 victory could be correct. Labour's formidable ground game at work here.
00:02 - Sky News are reporting that there are 9,000 postal votes. In 2015 there were 9737 on a 63.8% turnout. As turnout is expected to be at least 20% less than 2015, they will take a significant role in final result.
11:54 - Dan Hodges reporting Tories ahead.
Source at the Copeland count says Tories edging ahead now.
10:29pm - Labour source gets in touch to provide Jeremy Corbyn's email to PLP at close of polls:
Subject:Close of Poll - message from Jeremy Corbyn to MPs
I wanted to write to thank you for all of your work to support the by-elections. At a difficult time for the party, in the midst of the Article 50 debates, our MPs have led the way. Thank you for all you have done motivating members and activists, at our phone banks, supporting our candidates and, of course, hitting the doors day in and day out. Special thanks are of course due to Andrew Gwynne, Sue Hayman, Cat Smith, Jack Dromey and Ruth Smeeth, who have gone above and beyond to lead these campaigns on behalf of the Party. Myself, the PLP, and the whole of the Labour movement owe you a great debt of thanks.
We always knew that these were going to be competitive, close and challenging elections, but with your help we have made the arguments on the issues that matter to working people – our local NHS services, and an economy that works for the whole of the country, ensuring that no one is left behind. We should all be proud of the campaigns we have run, and I have extended my thanks, on behalf of the PLP, to the Party staff who have put their lives on hold and worked seven-day weeks to make the case for Labour.
We will know more once the counts are underway, and of course, colleagues will be kept updated. But for now, thank you again, and I hope everyone has the chance to relax this evening after a long (and wet) day on the doorstep.
Leader of the Labour Party
10:25pm - We started reporting yesterday, that Labour expected to lose in Copeland. Some Labour sources still think Labour can win, but I'm not so sure.
10:00pm - Several Labour sources on the ground have predicted that Labour will by as much as 5,000 with Tories in second and UKIP in third. Copeland probable Labour loss but very close.
9:23pm - not long left now. Copeland could go either way at this point but provided there isn't a total shock Labour will win Stoke.
8:40pm - Labour sources on the ground in Copeland think that is very close and difficult to call. In Stoke, it seems the Labour GOTV campaign is managing to persuade people how to vote. Local sources say that there are reports across the constituency of Labour's on the ground operation being effective.
7:06pm - Tory source backing up our turnout report and my below reporting about UKIP voters going Tory.
Sources on the ground in Stoke say Tories siphoning off UKIP Pledges. Turnout will be low. #stokebyelection
6:50pm- Following our exclusive report that Labour's Elections Director is confident that Labour will win Stoke, I've heard from a well respected elections veteran on the ground who says "it is in the bag".
6:10pm - I have a brief update on the Labour Party campaign. My understanding from very senior sources is that Labour HQ is doing advanced digital advertising in both by-elections. This team that sits under Patrick Heneghan, the Executive Director of Elections, and is run by Tom Lavelle are targeting voters based on their voting intention and propensity to vote. They are doing this through the purchase of external data and Facebook advertising. Tom's team is a relatively new operation that was started after the 2016 elections. My understanding from sources close to the Labour Leader is that Patrick is confident Labour will win stoke, but thinks that Copeland is on a knife edge.
5:19pm - Sources in stoke say that turnout is very slow. I've been told that activists are walking around for hours and hardly getting anyone in. This is to some extent normal, but I'm told this is worse than usual. There are increasing fears in the Labour camp of a low turnout. (For avoidance of doubt following Twitter comments, this isn't about Labour's election chances, but about turnout)
4:45pm - just a quick update on the Labour campaign in Copeland and Stoke. The Copeland campaign is being run by the Regional Director of Labour North, the formidable and highly respected Fiona Stanton. The MP in charge is Andrew Gwynne. Stanton is a veteran of running by-election campaigns and from personal experience will be running a ruthlessly organised campaign up there. Stoke is being run by the newly appointed West Midlands Regional Director George Sinnott. The MP is Jack Dromey.
4:28pm - the wildcard in Copeland is of course the number of postal votes. In 2015 there were 12,218 postal votes in Copeland or 19.4%. 9737 were returned or 24.5% of the overall vote. This will almost certainly be higher this time due to the Labour Party's famed postal vote operation. I've just been told that the weather is absolutely shocking and likely to depress turnout. In this instance, postal votes will take on a far more significant angle. I am trying to find out info about PVs and will write about this if I find out any more info.
I'm also told that Whitehaven is a lot better for Labour than Keswick. This again brings differential turnout to the fore.
I'm told activist turnout in Stoke is huge and Labour HQ sent a coach of non-essential staffers to Stoke.
3:50pm update - Some Labour sources in Copeland tell me that they personally think that the election is very close and closer than some people expect because of the local NHS issue, as I explained yesterday. These sources think the race will come down to differential turnout, i.e what type of voter turns out. The electoral maths make the seat very tight. In the 2015 Parliament the average reduction in turnout is about 20%. So turnout in 2015 in Copeland was 63.8. So if we budget for a 43.8% turnout this would mean there would be roughly 27,345 voters. Based on the 2015 figures the result would be if exactly the same:
I'm told by 2 members of the Shadow Cabinet and multiple people knocking on doors, that our vote isn't holding up. I'm also told that the Tories are heavily working the seat and the Lib Dems are trying to aggressively mop up Labour voters annoyed with Labour over brexit. The national polls show that UKIP voters are trending Tory and Labour voters are trending Lib Dem. This makes the seat very close but at this point, looks like Labour will lose.
I also understand from people knocking on doors that Labour are using targeting technology to add likely Labour voters to their door knocking sheets. This means that they haven't identified enough promises, to make the people in Labour's Southside HQ completely comfortable.
Sources on the ground in Stoke, tell me things are going as expected and it is likely Labour will win there.