More signs Corbyn’s cabal has abandoned Labour’s key seats and is focused on the next leadership contest

by Atul Hatwal

The starting pistol for the election has been fired but when it comes to candidate selection, Labour has been left on the blocks.

According to Labour’s selection timetable, Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in seats where the MP has stood down, are being chosen by the NEC between Sunday 23rd April and Friday 28th April and in seats without Labour MPs, between Sunday April 30th and Tuesday May 2nd. Sitting MPs have been automatically reselected.

Think about those dates for a moment.

Six days to pick 14 candidates in seats Labour already holds where the MP is retiring, three days to pick 416 candidates, out of which just under 100 are the key seats needed to win a majority.

Actions speak louder than words and the focus on seats where MPs are standing down tells us two things.

First, the party has written-off anything not already held.

Candidates in seats needed to form a Labour government are likely to be two weeks behind their incumbent Tory opponents, at the stage they are confirmed after the May bank holiday.

Labour officials suggest that based on past election experience, sitting Tory MPs will be on their third or fourth leaflet to voters by the time Labour has candidates in place.

Given the snap nature of the election, where the sole opportunity to introduce the Labour candidate to electors is the eight week window starting from Theresa May’s announcement, this is a major handicap.

There are doubts whether Labour’s candidates will even be able to make the first of the two free election mailings – that’s how late our selection process runs.

Second, the factions at the top of the party are looking ahead to the aftermath of defeat and the impending Labour leadership election.

Uncut has heard repeatedly over the past days about the selection battles developing around the retiring MPs’ seats. John McDonnell has his list, Tom Watson has his list and the unions are manoeuvring behind favoured sons and daughters.

In many respects, this is a traditional scramble for parliamentary berths, telescoped into a much shorter time period compared to other elections. However, one of the common features in reports of the various discussions is the hard left’s drive to boost parliamentary numbers so that a candidate from their faction can get onto a future leadership ballot.

The requirement is that 15% of the PLP and European parliamentary party need to back a leadership candidate if they are to be put before a vote of members and supporters.

Currently that means 37 nominations but in a post-June 8th world where Labour’s Westminster representation will likely be slashed to around 150 MPs, the total number of nominations needed would drop to the mid-20s.

Paradoxically, the expected hammering at the election will help the hard left in their quest to ensure a Corbynite successor is on the next leadership ballot.

The latest assessment is that there are 18 to 21 sitting MPs, likely to hold their seats, who would back a hard left leadership candidate.

This would leave the Corbynites short by 5 to 10 MPs.

In the last parliament the hard left were notoriously ineffective in securing seats for their supporters in local selections. This time, because candidates are being appointed directly by NEC committee, there is a unique opportunity to boost their numbers.

Last Tuesday I wrote that the leadership election which follows the general election is the real contest that is concentrating the minds of Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle. A series of decisions flow from this focus, the first of which is evident in Labour’s selection timetable: the choice of candidate in 14 seats that Labour already hold matters so much more than the fate of the 93 Labour needs to form a government.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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9 Responses to “More signs Corbyn’s cabal has abandoned Labour’s key seats and is focused on the next leadership contest”

  1. ITMA says:

    Latest quote from Corbyn’s speech tonight–
    ”I can no longer sit back and allow Establishment infiltration, Establishment indoctrination, Establishment subversion and the international Establishment conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

  2. John P Reid says:

    I remember after the 92 election a union boss said this is the forth election ,labours lost, this is the forth election we’ve told them what policies to have, I think we’re backing the wrong horse,without spending a seconds fault, that had the union boss not told labour to hwve policies that the leadership didn’t want,then we might not have lost in1992′ but it never occurred to that union boss it was his fault

    The fact is labour just hasn’t a clue that it’s complete contempt for the blue collar male working class, from do as I say not as I do, Harriet harmans, and thinking the working class should have gone to university, as then they wouldn’t have been thick,and voted leave and need the liberal elite to tell them how to vote in the future is so off putting labour won’t win again,unless the Tories really mess up for 20 years,

  3. I have applied to stand, and if successful this will be my fourth General Election. Any delay is an irritant, because we (candidates) will be left with no time to make any impact. Regardless as to the likelihood of success, all elections are an opportunity to make one’s presence felt.

    On a positive note, I do not think other parties are anywhere near ready either. This is an election that should help all incumbents.

  4. paul barker says:

    As with so many of Atuls pieces this seem to stop before he tells us what Labour “Moderates” are going to do.
    I imagine they will do nothing, just make more idle threats. The “Hard” Left won & people like Atul are just wasting their time. More importantly they are wasting voters time.

  5. Bert Smith says:

    Moderates have lined up Ellie Reeves for Lewisham and Penge.But there is a news blackout on Barnsley -what could that mean ?

  6. Ex Labour says:

    @Paul Barker

    Many “moderates” according to the moderates I know, are going to vote Conservative. They see this as the way to remove Corbyn. I think the ones I spoke to called it a short, sharp shock, then cleanse and rebuild.

    If the “hard” left think the public will vote for them and their ilk, then think again. They are delusional.

  7. NickT says:

    Well, I am not voting for Labour in any shape or form until Corbyn and his idiot cronies have been removed from power and replaced by a competent, honest leader who possesses real policies and intelligence,

  8. DominicJ says:

    Sensibly, Candidate selection should begin the week of so after the election, and that would leave only replacements to be selected in the run up.

  9. george silver says:

    had a labour canvasser (glasgow) at my door … lets say I explained to her exactly why I would never vote for the disgrace that the party has become.

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