Labour Claim Dirty Tricks at All-Party Russia Group Election

It’s all kicking off at the election of the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia this afternoon. Tory John Randall has beaten Labour’s Chris Bryant after a huge scrum at the ballot box. Now Bryant’s backers are claiming the Tories tried to stitch up the vote. Labour MP Stephen Doughty tells Guido:

“It was chaotic. The room was absolutely packed with a line out of the door when Claire Perry starting saying “I’m shutting the door, I’m locking the door.” She was standing in front of the door and blocking people from going in. There were a lot of Tory whips there. I asked her on what authority she was doing it – the door was bulging. Eventually she gave up.”

Defeated Bryant described it as a “positively Russian style election” and shadow foreign affairs minister Ian Lucas claims “Tory Cabinet Ministers [were] trying to stop Chris Bryant from being Chair of APPG on Russia”A coup worthy of Khrushchev’s fall from the Politburo?

UPDATE: A Randall supporter insists it was “just a major whipping organisation by some Tory backbenchers.”



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GuidoFawkes Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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