Multiple Labour sources have accused the party’s NEC of stitching up safe seats for committee members, with Keith Vaz in the frame for fixing selections for his friends. When there is a late retirement in the run up to an election, Labour has a standard procedure where an NEC sub-committee chooses the candidates to go forward for selection. This special selections panel is usually put into place close to the election for last minute selections only, however Guido is told that this time it was implemented in January. The NEC deciding that any constituency where the MP stood down after 10 December last year not have local shortlisting powers and the NEC rather than their local party would handle the selections. One Labour source describes this as “earlier than ever”, another as “way too early”, noting there is “still plenty of time to run proper selections”. Why the change from convention?
Since the special NEC panel was set up, NEC members are mysteriously being selected for safe seats all over the place. NEC member Conor McGinn was put on the shortlist for the uber-safe seat of St. Helen’s North, winning the selection two weeks ago. McGinn represents the same division on the NEC as Vaz.
As Guido reported yesterday, NEC member and Unite agitator Rachael Maskell has just been selected in York Central in acrimonious circumstances.
Meanwhile the selection in Edmonton, where Andy Love has retired, takes place this weekend. At the moment the favourite is Kate Osamor, surprise surprise, yet another NEC member. Three NEC members put forward for safe seats just weeks after the NEC special selections panel was set up – more than a little fishy…