Confusion reigns over London Labour Euro-list selection as candidates dispute senior official’s story

The fiasco over London Labour’s Euro-list selection descended into chaos  this week with candidates querying a senior official’s version of events.

On Monday, Uncut ran a piece on the grassroots revolt in London over the selection process for Labour’s European election candidates. In the article, Joy Johnson was identified as one of the key officials on the London selection panel.

She contacted Uncut to complain that her position in the process had been misrepresented. To be absolutely clear on her role in the overall selection procedure we put a question to her:

“Did you discuss the selection criteria, process or any prospective candidates with any of the other members of the panel?”

Her response was posted in the comments to the piece, “You asked did I discuss the short list the answer is NO.”

It seemed an oddly specific response. The question didn’t even mention short lists and was much broader in it’s ambit.

Subsequently, over the course of this week, Uncut has been contacted by several candidates interviewed to get onto Labour’s European short list, perplexed at Joy’s response.

Each of the candidates Uncut has spoken to has been clear: Joy Johnson did attend their short listing  meeting and took an active part in the interviews.

Speaking to Labour’s London candidates, it has emerged that the party decided its short list of European candidates at two meetings before Easter on Saturday 23rd March and Sunday 24th March. The title of the mail sent out by head office to candidates was very clear: “European Parliament selections Short Listing Interview.”

Last night, we contacted Joy Johnson with this information and her stance appears to have evolved.

“There was a meeting to decide on candidates who were to go forward for interview. I wasn’t at that meeting. I didn’t discuss the list that went forward for interviews. As for the weekend you mentioned…I was at that meetingAs part of the interview process there were discussions to get to the final list that would then go out to party members” (emphasis added)

The new position is that Joy Johnson did attend short listing meetings, she did interview candidates and then did discuss with her colleagues on the panel which candidates would be on Labour’s European short list .

Confused? Many are.

It seems that when faced with the initial question from Uncut, rather than simply give a full answer, Joy Johnson opted to parse. But she got confused between the long listing (sifting candidates before interview) and short listing (interviewing candidates to make Labour’s short list of European candidates).

For someone who was Ken Livingstone’s former director of communications, it’s an astonishing way to deal with the media.

Did she not think any one of the many unhappy London candidates would not challenge her partial answer, even if she had remembered the difference between long and short listing, which seemed tantamount to “nothing to do with me guv” ? The political judgement is baffling.

The whole episode is symptomatic of a wider malaise: the London Labour party’s political process is characterised by a bunker mentality where transparency is something for people like Arnie Graf to talk about,  but not to be practised in capital.

Even now, candidates who were interviewed and rejected by the panel have not received any explanation or feedback on the reasons. Stories abound across London Labour about preferred sons and daughters being told days in advance that they had been selected and who had been rejected while the rest waited on the official announcement.

The backlash in the London Labour party is growing on a daily basis.

At the end of May a ballot will go out for members in the capital to list the candidates in order of preference. This will determine the order in which they are elected, depending on the size of the Labour vote in next year’s election.

Already grassroots campaigns are forming, specifically targeting those candidates bearing the taint of the fix and backing those who ran without the crude patronage of London Labour’s power brokers.

What started as a bungled fix is becoming a festering sore.


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12 Responses to “Confusion reigns over London Labour Euro-list selection as candidates dispute senior official’s story”

  1. BenM says:

    Trying to count how many people beyond this site give a toss?

  2. swatantra says:

    Quite a few. This made the news on the Today Programme.
    Scrap the whole process now and let s have Open Primaries. Theres plenty of time till 2014. Its London’s prospective MEPs most likely to be elected. We’ve got little chance here in the Eastern Region, apart from one or two.

  3. bob says:

    Was UNITE involved in all this behind the scenes.

  4. McNeil says:

    In South West England, we were outraged that Razvan Constantinescu, who had huge support from the whole region (which is rare in itself) was not selected. The only grounds on which he wasn’t selected was that he ‘was not a team player.’ Given that he has done massive amounts of work to promote engagement with the EU and has been very successful in this we were furious. Over 160 people signed out petition to put him on the list, which I gave to Ed Miliband last week. Letters to the NEC were sent from all over the South West asking them to reconsider. We hear more and more worrying things about the selection as time goes on, which I won’t detail on here, but ‘stitch up’ comes up a lot. The whole thing is a farce. Iain McNicol replied to some of our complaints, but basically told us to stop moaning. I hope the pressure of The Times front page makes Miliband take another look at our petition in the South West and take action to remedy this.

  5. Ex-Labour says:

    According to the Times today three unions involved selecting their own candidates. Official Labour party statement says everything fine and dandy with the selection.

    Unions want their payback. Ed M very weak and said nothing. Unite coughed up £20 Mill over the last two year for Ed, so I guess his silence says everything.

  6. Dan Filson says:

    I’m far from clear how you could run an “open primary” in London where there is a list system and it is already highly likely that whoever are those numbered three, four, five (and beyond) on the list have serious chances of being elected as well as the two incumbents. Choosing whom to put into what order is going to be tricky enough even without opening up the names before us to include further names not before us. Am I wrong on that?

    I look back fondly at a selection for the Euro elections long, long ago where X (who shall be nameless) said of Y (ditto) who was a possible candidate, that she was “quite beautiful really, in a raddled sort of way”. That kind of sexist language is no longer with us, thank goodness, but the fix or would-be fix clearly are still with us. What a mess. No doubt the Tory press will ate something of it.

  7. swatantra says:

    The only flaw in PR/AV which I support otherwise , is ‘the List Sytem’; you end up with someone you haven’t directly elected.
    I also would prefer the type of elections we had at the outset eg with the Eastern Region divided up into its 8 constituencies and an MEP responsible for their own Constituency and not for the entire Region. It makes more sense, and is simpler to understand.Thats where Primaries could work.

  8. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    The fixes continue, the commitment to corruption is just about to receive its second coating of paint with more establishment cronies associated with dodgy dealing being selected as candidates, or worse useless articles whose well abilities or worse desire to scrutinise are near zero but will continue to keep the failing Labour Party sliding into its long prepared coffin.

    The saddest aspect to all this os observing the notabl comments from supporters lapping it all up, desperate to believe that somehow, someway things will change…they won’t, the greed of the Leadership is unlimited and their ruthlessness equally beyond limit and they are still laughing at their members, the gullables who have nothing and gain nothing and are still chasing a dead dream that has left out politics forever…for their betters.

    All in vain and the totrue of members continues. Its an appalling thing to witness.

  9. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    The fixes continue, the commitment to corruption is just about to receive its second coating of paint with more establishment cronies associated with dodgy dealing being selected as candidates, or worse useless articles whose well abilities or worse desire to scrutinise are near zero but will continue to keep the failing Labour Party sliding into its long prepared coffin.

    The saddest aspect to all this os observing the notable comments from eager and dedicated scruplulous supporters lapping it all up, desperate to believe that somehow, someway things will change…they won’t, the greed of the Leadership is unlimited and their ruthlessness equally beyond limit and they are still laughing at their members, the poor gullables who have nothing and gain nothing and are still chasing a dead dream that has left out politics forever…for their betters.

    All in vain and the torture of members continues. Its an appalling thing to witness.

  10. bob says:

    Entryism and splitist still alive and well in the Labour party. Unite and fellow travelers and the more leftist parties beyond the ‘man in the street’ reap the benefit, remember Militant in Liverpool. With the GMB they gained control of that city and destroyed it with their Marxist Leninist rubbish leaving the city in debt until recently.

    If there is collusion and entryism it must be rooted out if the Labour party is ever to be a credible choice of the people. It must not go back to the idea of deals behind the scenes in smoke filled rooms of people stitching up the agenda together.

  11. Robert says:

    This selection does sound like a fix but who cares apart from a bunch of moaning Blairites? They have the option of standing as independents if they think that they have so much public support.

  12. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    “but who cares”

    Thanks for making my point 🙂

    You don’t and neither does your Party any more 🙂

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