A senior figure in Enfield North constituency Labour Party has told local general election candidate hopefuls that an order from their party’s ruling national body to suspend their local selection process will be respected, having previously said it would continue.
In an email sent this morning to local members wishing to contest the seat, CLP secretary Maria McCaul tells them “we will obviously co-operate for the good of our party” with a pause ordered by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), having previously carried on with their own selection process.
McCaul’s email says the party’s London region director Hazel Flynn “called and wrote to me yesterday afternoon to tell me we have now been paused”. An NEC decision to suspend processes for selecting candidates for vacant seats across the country was taken in mid-September.
Also yesterday, McCaul contributed to a Facebook discussion of a Labour List reference to Enfield North continuing its selection process “without permission”, saying: “Rumours abound, ignore them. ENCLP selection process is continuing. End.”
Enfield North needs a new candidate due to the defection of the seat’s MP Joan Ryan from Labour to what is now called the Independent Group for Change early this year. The Labour selection process there has long been fractious, with Labour List reporting in July that some members considered calling a vote of no confidence in Flynn.
The NEC pause decision also applied to selections taking place in seats whose sitting Labour MP have chosen to step down. In Greater London, selection processes in Vauxhall, Streatham, Ealing North and Erith & Thamesmead have been paused, though Ilford South’s is continuing on the grounds that it was further advanced than most others when the NEC’s decision was made. Voting is expected to be completed in that contest at the weekend.
Despite what appears to be a climbdown by McCaul, her email expresses a belief that the NEC’s “possibly fast tracking selections” and “managing” them in view of an election’s possible imminence would nonetheless “allow the members input into who their candidates will be”. She says she will be “lobbying our NEC” to allow local selection work to continue with a view to potential local candidates being considered.
There have been rumours, which On London cannot confirm, that GMB trade unionist Dean Gilligan, a Labour councillor in Harrow, might be imposed as Enfield North candidate and there were strong local objections to Momentum national co-ordinator Laura Parker, a resident of Lambeth, announcing her intention to become the candidate.
McCaul, a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, also writes in her email: “I cannot imagine anyone in the party as it is now wishing to be unwontedly parachuted into a CLP”.
The Conservatives have named Joanne Laban, leader of the Conservative Group on Enfield Council, as their candidate for Enfield North. Joan Ryan, in a lengthy Twitter statement last month, appeared to rule out defending her seat, writing, “When I stood in 2017 I always intended to serve only one more term in parliament” and pledging to “continue to work hard for Enfield until a new MP has been selected”.
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