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.
As expected at tonight’s meeting of the Unite North West Political Committee Sam Wheeler received the endorsement to be the candidate in Manchester Gorton. This must be ratified by Unite’s national political structures but this is expected to be a formality.
Unite’s process has been more transparent than some other unions, with all interested candidates invited to an interview in front of the entire committee at their Salford offices. Each candidate was allowed time for a statement and questions. I understand that Chris Webb represented Afzal Khan MEP. Mr Webb is a veteran political operative in North West and works for Mr Khan. The other candidates turned up as expected.
I understand that some of the candidates are furious at Mr Wheeler’s nomination. “It’s a stitch up”, said one source.
However it seems that Unite did afford each candidate fair process, the Political Committee was just heavily skewed to Mr Wheeler.
I understand all candidates have been informed by email with Unite saying, “After due consideration, the recommendation from the Unite North West Labour Party Liaison Committee is to support Sam Wheeler in his bid to become the Labour candidate for Manchester Gorton”.
In other news following our exclusive report that Rabnawaz Akbar was indeed running in Gorton, he has confirmed to the Manchester Evening News that he is running. Mr Akbar said, “Over the last few days I have been approached by many residents of Gorton other than party members to put my name forward.
“Sir Gerald is not going to be an easy act to follow but I believe I have the commitment, dedication, experience, an ethos of hard work and a vision for Gorton that will allow me to continue his remarkable legacy”.
Southwark Councillor Karl Eastham, according to Labourlist, has also applied for the seat. He is extremely unlikely to be shortlisted, due to the expected small size of the shortlist.
A spokesman for Mr Wheeler didn’t return calls. Unite the Union declined to comment.
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