Momentum’s Hackney branch is calling on members to vote against open selection in two wards to protect “left-wing councillors” from less pro-Corbyn challengers – just two weeks after calling open selection the “best option” for socialists.
In a 24 August statement on Facebook, Momentum Hackney encouraged members to trigger open selection – meaning councillors face challengers for the Labour candidacy – calling the process good for local democracy.
But an email on 8 September urged members and supporters not to trigger open selection in Hoxton West and Shacklewell wards “to spare four left-wing councillors” from possibly losing to candidates who do not support Jeremy Corbyn and “grassroots members”.
Shacklewell’s councillors are Michelle Gregory and Richard Lufkin, while Hoxton West is represented by Yvonne Maxwell, Clayeon Mackenzie and Carole Williams. It is not clear which Hoxton West councillors are included in Momentum’s four left-wingers.
In the Facebook statement, Momentum Hackney said: “Until this year, all sitting councillors who wanted to re-stand had to go through an open selection process competing against other candidates. We think this is positive and democratic as it makes councillors more accountable to members.”
Noting a Labour Party rule change in 2016 which means members have to vote against an “affirmative vote” to trigger open selection, the group said: “We think that both the way this was pushed through conference and the change itself are undemocratic and would encourage you to vote for an open selection in the shortlisting meeting.”
It added: “No system is perfect but socialists can apply a simple test. What is the best option ‘from the point of view of the political development of party members, of encouraging people to join the party, and getting the wider electorate to see Labour as theirs, to feel a real connection and ownership of what the party could become’?
“We think open selections win on these criteria and so urge you to vote against the ‘affirmative vote’ and so trigger open selections.”
However, in the 8 September email, Momentum Hackney said: “Whilst we agree with this [open selections] in principle, we are urging members and supporters to NOT TRIGGER the open selection process in the following wards: Hoxton West, Shacklewell.
“This is to spare four left-wing councillors from being potentially unsuccessful in their re-election bids against candidates who do not support the Labour leadership and grassroots members. We have come to this decision in light of information that has only recently come to our attention.”
Momentum Hackney has not said what information this refers to.
Momentum was built out of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for Labour leadership in 2015 and backs replacing MPs it considers too conservative.
/ 13 September, 2017