In Brighton the key dilemma is whether to concentrate on the winnable Kemptown seat or throw them away in Pavilion when the current MP is to the left of most Labour MPs
We had an interesting discussion at Brighton and Hove Momentum’s
Steering Committee tonight.
The first item on the agenda was a political debate over the
general election. I was one of the few
an overall Tory majority last time around so I stuck my head out again. No doubt I will be in the same position as
Paddy Ashdown last time around when he offered to eat his hat but….
It is clear that Theresa May must have agonised for a long
time over whether or not to go to the polls.
Her lead in the opinion polls must have been tempting. We can discard her explanation about
difficulties over Brexit. Unfortunately Jeremy
Corbyn has made her job in this respect only too easy.
As I said yesterday her lead can only go down. It is likely that there will be a number of
tendencies. In Scotland it is doubtful
that there will be any major changes to the SNP’s domination, especially given
the weak state of Labour under Kezia Dugdale.
It is however likely that UKIP, which scored 4 million votes last time,
is going to suffer a hit. I suspect it
may lose at least half its vote. If its
northern vote crumbles this may result in a number of Labour gains. In the Tories southern strongholds, UKIP’s
collapse will not affect the Tories.
What is also likely to happen is that the Lib-Dems will regain a number of
their seats in the South-West and possibly elsewhere. If this happens it is possible that the
Tories, who may not be able to control the agenda in the same way as slippery
Cameron did, may find things coming apart at the seams. In particular over their plans for a hard
Brexit. This is my feeling and we will
have to see how things pan out over the next 7 weeks.
If he can’t support the elected leader of the Labour Party Woodcock shouldn’t be a Labour candidate
If both the Tories and the Lib-Dems fail to gain enough
seats to form an administration, then Labour is in with a chance of forming an
administration. However, this does of
course mean dealing with the Tory cuckoos within the Labour nest, one of whom, John Woodcock has explicitly said that he won’t vote to support Corbyn as Prime Minister. There is no doubt
that the Woodcocks and Peter Kyles are politically closer to the Tories than Jeremy
Corbyn. In the event of hung parliament then we can expect Labour’s
Progress MPs to behave accordingly.
One of the main items on the agenda of Momentum’s meeting
tonight was the question of what position to take over standing a Labour
candidate in Brighton Pavilion. For
those who are not aware, its current MP Caroline Lucas is the Green Party’s
only representative in parliament. In
2015 she had a majority of nearly 8,000 compared to 1,300 in 2010. The Labour and Tory votes stayed constant at
nearly 15,000 and 12,500 respectively whereas the Lib-Dems collapsed from over
7,000 to 1,500 votes. UKIP went up from
under 1,000 to 2,700.
Peter Kyle – Hove’s current Progress Labour MP will find it hard to support a Corbyn-led administration
It is therefore blindingly clear not only that Labour is
unlikely to win the seat but that Caroline Lucas is far better than the average
Labour MP in terms of her stance on things like the NHS. Many people in the Labour Party are opposed
to standing a candidate at all in exchange for the Green Party not standing a
candidate in Brighton Kemptown. There
was, not surprisingly, a certain amount of tribalism from those who believe
that Labour should stand regardless.
However we were told that Labour Party rules stipulate that
there must be a candidate in every constituency. The meeting agreed to a motion proposed by
Greg Hadfield, the former Secretary of the Brighton and Hove District Labour
Party before he was deposed in a right-wing coup nationally, that we should ask
the Greens to stand down their candidate unilaterally in Brighton Kemptown on
the understanding that activists in Momentum and the Labour Party will
concentrate their efforts on winning Kemptown.
Mandelson has already said that he spends every day doing something to undermine Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party
The other major question concerns who is the candidate in
Kemptown. Whereas all other parties have
selected their candidates already, Labour’s NEC hasn’t allowed the selection of
candidates nationally resulting in it imposing candidates on constituencies like
the two Brighton ones without candidates.
Possible candidates include former Momentum supporter Lloyd
Russell-Moyle and far-Right Blue Labour supporter, Progress Councillor Caroline
Penn as well as another councillor, Daniel Yates, a supporter of greater
private involvement in the NHS. The
previous candidate, Nancy Platts, who is a Corbyn supporter is unfortunately
not standing again, which is a great pity since she only lost by under 700
votes to Simon Kirby. If the Greens, who
last time got over 3 thousand votes, were to stand down, then a Labour victory
would be possible.