Right-whingers like Luke Akehurst (This Writer had an interesting – and brief – tussle with him on Twitter yesterday) are already making up silly stories about this.
They’re saying the percentage of Constituency Labour Party nominations going to each candidate in the Labour leadership election isn’t representative because not every CLP has nominated.
Oh very clever – perhaps they’ve forgotten that many CLPs decided not to nominate due to fears about bullying and abusive behaviour – that were spread by right-whingers from the Anybody But Corbyn brigade?
And have they also forgotten that the result may be considered unreliable in any case, because people like Mr Akehurst have been persuading constituency officers to restrict the number of voters in their nomination meetings?
Labour CLP meetings may be either all-member affairs or delegate-only. Mr Akehurst, in his role as secretary of Progress-linked right-wing party-within-a-party Labour First – he says – has been writing to CLP officers, asking them to make their nomination meetings delegate-only.
“The key thing to note is that this can be done ‘using either an all-member meeting or a meeting of the general committee.’ Therefore if you have a delegate-based GC structure you can decide who to nominate by a vote of GC delegates only,” he wrote in his email.
I put it to him on Twitter: “You wanted to prevent CLP members from nominating their preferred candidate.”
His response? “no I don’t and nowhere in the email does it suggest that.”
So I quoted part of the passage above back to him and told him not to lie.
Then he offered: “that is the traditional way large CLPs take decisions.”
So I gave him a lesson: “It’s not the way many have – until now. It’s denying members the right to nominate.
“Look at Blaenau Gwent: all member meeting in 2015; delegates now. Anti-democratic.
“You are trying to influence people to deny democracy to members.
“And you are doing this to affect the result of the leader election.”
Then he went away – which seems to be the traditional method of admitting defeat in Twitter arguments.
That didn’t stop Mr Akehurst from shooting one last bolt about the CLP nominations.
After figures from 95 per cent of nominating CLPs were released, showing 15,066 votes for Jeremy Corbyn and 7,585 for Owen Smith, Mr Akehurst tweeted: “Aggregated votes cast in CLP nomination mtgs, GMB ballot, Unison ballot: Corbyn 43215, Smith 41274”.
It such a problematic figure that it is hard to know where to start. Votes from nomination meetings weren’t all available, not all CLPs nominated and members were prevented from supporting their preferred candidates in CLPs where the delegate system was employed; more than two trade unions were balloted; and there are other Labour-affiliated organisations not mentioned.
In other words, it’s a meaningless statistic dreamed up to make the Smith camp feel a little better.
The saddest part is, judging from the replies on his Twitter feed, Mr Akehurst has actually convinced people with that drivel.
Jeremy Corbyn has won local party nominations by a landslide in the Labour leadership contest, with 84% of constituency nominations at the final count.
The Labour leader won the support of 285 constituency Labour parties (CLPs), with his rival, Owen Smith, taking just 53 nominations.
Corbyn has more than doubled his support among local parties since the 2015 contest, though there were four candidates then rather than two. In 2015, he won support from 39% of CLPs.
Corbyn’s candidacy has also been endorsed by the two largest trade unions, Unison and Unite, as well as smaller unions such as the train drivers’ representatives Aslef and from Young Labour.
The Jewish Labour Movement also endorsed Smith on Monday, with 92% of its members saying they preferred him to Corbyn.
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