London Labour revolt over Euro-list fix grows

Perhaps the leadership thought no one would notice? That no one would care about the fixing involved in selecting Labour’s European election candidates?

Well, the evidence is that they were wrong. Very wrong.

The lightning rod for emerging discontent in London is Anne Fairweather. Ahead of the 2009 European elections she was the top choice for Labour members, securing almost 3,500 votes, comfortably ahead of the rest of the field.

As Peter Watt and Jon Worth have noted, this time round, she was rejected by Labour, without even an interview.

In the past week anger has been rising across London with a slew of motions about the London selection being passed at grassroots level.

Anne’s branch in Brixton Hill passed a motion calling on the regional board to explain their decision. Bloomsbury ward in Camden passed a motion condemning the selection process,

This branch expresses its disappointment that Anne Fairweather has not been placed on the long list of candidates for the London Labour European election. As the third-placed candidate on the Labour list in London in 2009 she worked hard to increase Labour’s vote share at a difficult time for the party, and would have been elected as the third London Labour MEP after Claude Moraes and Mary Honeyball had the region of London not had its tally of seats reduced to eight. For 2009 she topped the ballot of London Labour members which decided the order on the list, winning more than 3000 personal votes. Denying members the ability to choose whether or not to vote for her again is undemocratic and this branch calls for this decision to be explained in full and reviewed by the national party.

Moreover, we will need strong and experienced advocates for a pro-EU reform agenda in what will be a very tough campaign next year. More strong campaigners are needed in leading positions if we are to return a Labour government in 2015.

Thornton and Clapham Common branches in Streatham CLP have passed similar motions with branches in Southwark, Islington and Redbridge expected to back motions calling on the regional board to explain their rationale.

In each motion, the central questions are the same: how does someone go from Labour’s leading European candidate to not even meriting an interview? What has changed?

Based on the evidence, it seems that while Anne Fairweather remains very much the same candidate so strongly endorsed by Labour members at the time of the last European election, control of key decision-making posts is now in the hands of the resurgent left.

Her crime seems to have been to work in business and not be one of the chosen candidates of the unions and the left.

Out of seven members of the London European candidate selection panel, five are either serving officials in the unions or have been backed by Labour Briefing – a hard left publication committed to establishing the most left-wing policy platform for the party since 1983.

Three panel members in particular are understood to have been influential over the selection approach: Gary Doolan, Steve Hart and Joy Johnson.

Gary Doolan is national political liaison officer at the GMB and was the chair of the panel. The GMB is very clear about its intention to maximise its influence in selecting candidates that share its views and exclude those from other wings of the party. The GMB political strategy states,

“We want to provide support to those who share our values politically and this should be done at the expense of those who seek our financial and organisational support yet fail to grasp the need for social justice in any context other than words in a game of scrabble”

Steve Hart is the extremely influential political director of Unite, lest we forget, Labour’s largest donor. Unite are just as clear as the GMB about using their influence to pick specific types of candidates. Last year, Dave Quayle, chair of Unite’s national political committee set out their priorities in an interview for the website of Marxist fringe group, the Alliance for Worker’s Liberty,

“We want a firmly class-based and left-wing general election campaign in 2015… We want to shift the balance in the party away from middle-class academics and professionals towards people who’ve actually represented workers and fought the boss.”


Joy Johnson is Ken Livingstone’s former director of communications. She is close to the cabal of long term Livingstone advisers that are members of  Socialist Action (motto: “Kick out the Tories, prepare to fight the Labour right.”) Although not a member herself, the closeness of her association with Socialist Action stalwarts and the warm backing  Labour Briefing gave  Johnson when she ran (successfully) for a seat on London Labour’s regional board is indicative of her political allegiances.

The clear political imperative of the unions and Labour’s left is to recast Labour’s political representatives in their own image. In this context, the exclusion of Anne Fairweather is eminently predictable. Noone involved has hidden their agenda or their objectives.

The real question is: why was Ed Miliband’s team happy to let this happen?

Note: Piece was updated 1230 16/04 to reflect Joy Johnson’s comment below

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15 Responses to “London Labour revolt over Euro-list fix grows”

  1. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    I believe this is the point where your loyal “activists” place their heads in the sand and pretend Labour is what it was thirty years ago and that Thatcher is still PM, deluding themselves into thinking that if Labour takes power something will change, even if your Leadership have not mentioned anything beyond their own personal ill-thought out weird ideas. Once again the gormless sheep looking to shepherds who represent the very thing they claim to be fighting against; privilige, idle rich, unfairness, poverty whilst following a collective Party Leadership who practise and value these traits beyond the Leaderships of any other Party on the whole political spectrum.
    You can’t really blame your Leaders, after all every time they feed you some shallow attempt aof a sob-story you think they are Atlee and Bevan reborn lol…..with such gormless gullable members, the mass leaflet fodder of the privilaged, very rich and affluent Left, who despise the disabled and the poor as not “workers”, you all deserve fully to be treated in the way in which you are…..I remember as an elected Labour Councillor being castigated for daring to question my privalaged better Mr James Purnell (now on a six figure sum with the BBC fully enjoying the affluence and rewards of bringing the advocates of appeal ATOS) because I was not a member of the Labour aristocracy…fully ironic and fully representative of the lamentable farce you have all beome.

    You are now as Labour members the peasants, told what to do and not permitted to question because for all your empty and pointless ideology, for all your vacent and shallow motives, you have not grasped at all that with democracy, without participation in a process without candidates representing the real world you are absolutely nothing, and moreso, you are far worse than the Conservatives…worse because the public expect you to be a moral force, even if deluded, and you are not a moral force. You are a feudal bank of corruption. Socialsim begins and ends with petty cornyism and helping your “mates” cash in from the system using any means whatsoever and the decision making is held behind closed doors because your Leaders, despite knowing how dumb you all are and laughing at you all behind your backs are, terrified of you knowing the truth.

    The truth of what Labour has become.

  2. Chilbaldi says:

    I’ve said it once already, but my feelings on this are mixed. I don’t like the idea of the hard left dominating selections but at the same time I think the Fairweather argument is weak. Coming top of the members’ ballot last time does not guarantee an interview this time – for all I know the people who were selected have been doing more to try to get selected in the interim.

    I also can’t help thinking that the Labour leadership has let the unions and hard left have their win for these Euro selections, as remember that the European Parliament isn’t vitally important in the great scheme of things and isn’t our bread and butter. Letting them have their win will let the moderates have more influence for Westminster selections.

  3. Danny says:

    Clr Ralph Baldwin, despite three different attempts at the word, the correct spelling is privilege.

  4. Fred smith says:

    This is a slippery slope. Labour are fork trucked to the tune of their paymasters.

    Nobody on the front bench has the forsight, ability or Charisma to have been a part of New Lab (itself a marketing machine). Ed Miliband will do a Kinnock – almost win power.

  5. swatantra says:

    Surely there must be some progressive Trade Unionists out there? If so, let them speak out and support Anne Fairweather.
    Lets drop this confrontational approach and class warfare nonsense; its almost as silly as ‘the war on terror’, and sit down with business, and plan for the future, a future After Austerity. This afternoon I was at a conference at TUC House London on Greening the Economy, and the only way we can achieve growth is by sitting down with business and inspiring confidence in each other. With confidence comes investment; with investment comes jobs.

  6. joy johnson says:

    I have just seen this article. As a member of the London Regional Board that was on the selection panel for the London Assembly list I was nominated to be on the panel for the MEP list by London Assembly member Val Shawcross.

    Because I was at a long diaried prior engagement I was not at the short listing meeting.

    Verification of this can be sought from the London Regional Officers.

    I am not nor ever have been a member of Socialist Action. Before working for the London Mayor I was interviewed by a cross party board which included Assembly members from each party. The decision to give me the job was unanimous.

    Can you remove this from your article as it is untrue.

  7. Norrette says:

    Facts picked up from Wiki are rarely correct. Labour Briefing is a magazine not a group – certainly not hard-left (although it tries to be sometimes 🙂 )

  8. Alan Ji says:


    You really aren’t a happy person, are you?

    As for the rest of it, my CLP is organising a hustings just before the ballot papers go out and we’re expecting all six new candidates. After that, all the members will have their own votes about the order of the six of them on the list.

    I really don’t see what previous candidates have got to do with it, and I do know some. The question is what have they done since then?

  9. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    @Danny its a word I am proud to misspell.

    @Alan Ji
    Actually I am very happy, after all I stopped being a gullible drone for the rich incestuous hypocrites you fools call Leaders. I could not give a damn about your CLP, you obviously have no grasp of what is occurring or of democracy hence the vote on an order on a list which is feeble. If anyone aint happy its the public. You are all to blame 🙂 But dumb is as dumb does so please…just carry on……

  10. joy johnson says:

    It’s disappointing that I have to return to this. I was not at the short listing meeting. Alan Olive from London Region oversaw the whole process. Because I was not at he short listing meeting I was not party to any discussion of those candidates.

    I have never been a member of Socialist Action. I’ve been a member of the Labour Pary since 1975 and this is the first time that it’s ever been suggested that I was a member of anything other than the Labour Party.

    I worked for the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. I was never a stalwart or part of a cabal. I worked with colleagues and tried to do my job to the best of my ability.

    My views are open. I write a regular column for Tribune.

  11. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    Yes but you clearly cannot read it says you are “close to the cabal”, it does not say you are a member of.

  12. Atul Hatwal says:

    Joy – It’s disappointing I need to reply to you like this but such is life. You state:” I was not at the short listing meeting. Alan Olive from London Region oversaw the whole process. Because I was not at the short listing meeting I was not party to any discussion of those candidates.”

    Not being at the selection meeting isn’t the same as not taking part in the process: as you well know, the discussions that take place around selection meetings are just as important as what goes on in the room; they frame the decision and set the criteria (formal and informal) by which choices are made.

    This is why in our private correspondence I asked you twice a very clear question: did you discuss the selection criteria, process or any prospective candidates with any of the other members of the panel?

    It’s a straightforward question. A simple “no I didn’t” would have sufficed. But in your mail you said ““For the criteria you need to talk to Alan Olive who oversaw the process.”

    So you’ve specifically avoided answering whether you discussed (a) the selection criteria with other members of the panel or (b) the selection process with other members of the panel.

    Your apparent position that decision-making happens only in a selection meeting is wilfully naïve. As you say, you’ve been a member of the party since 1975, you know how it works.

    Someone with your experience should be familiar with the concept of a non-denial denial. If not, check back over your reply to my question in the mail, it’s a classic of the genre.

    Atul (ed)

  13. joy johnson says:

    You asked did I discuss the short list the answer is NO.

    You asked did I discuss the criteria. There wasn’t any criteria as is normal practice. So again the answer is no.

    Was I part of a cabal. No. Was I close to a cabal. I worked with colleagues as I would anywhere.

  14. Kit says:

    “She is close to the cabal […] the warm backing Labour Briefing gave Johnson when she ran (successfully) for a seat on London Labour’s regional board is indicative of her political allegiances.”

    Oh no, not the cabal! Tinfoil hats all round!

    Seriously, to see Blairites crying about a stitch-up in candidate selection is just hilarious. Where was all this righteous indignation when it was you doing the political fixing? Where was all this anger when it was you running the cabal? How about doing something about the beam in your eye before talking about the mote in anyone else’s?

  15. Alan Ji says:


    I still don’t think you’re happy. How could I when you’re so angry about things youl;re no longer invovled in? Redbridge Tory Cllr Paul Canal wasn’t that angry when he followed the same trajectory as you.

    Can I risk annoying you further by reminding you that the first majority Labour parliament introduced one-adult-one-vote elections for the UK Parliament, and that Winston Churchill spoke agaisnt it? Churchill, at that time, was one of the longer serving Tory leaders, but hadn’t won a general election.

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