It’s all kicking off in Bradford West with local Labour Party internal ructions going very public. Newly appointed candidate Amina Ali tweeted that she had resigned, only to mysteriously delete the comment. Ever since Ali – who is of Somalian origin – was selected at the weekend, the local Labour Party on the ground have been in uproar. Having beaten off strong local choice Naveeda Ikram, many are questioning why, in a seat where ‘personal politics’ is so vital, a London Labour ally of Oona King has been forced upon them. The former BBC journalist is popular with the Shadow Cabinet, but the local party are baffled. “She not even Kashmiri, let alone Pakistani” says one source.
The local theory goes like this: George Galloway has softened his stance toward Labour of late, particularly on Question Time recently where he made a lot of conciliatory noises towards his old party. Having very loudly declared in 2013 that he was to run for Mayor of London, Galloway has gone very quiet on the subject. A local consensus has formed that some sort of deal has been done between Labour and the firebrand: if Galloway does not run against Labour in London and split the vote there, the party would give him an easy ride in Bradford. Unfortunately it seems the passions of the local Labour Party were not factored in, and the cunning plan has exploded.
UPDATE: Another Labour source adds further intrigue:
“Imran Hussein, deputy leader of the Labour group, still hasn’t got over being beaten by Galloway. He doesn’t want a female candidate or indeed any Labour candidate that can beat Galloway as then they will be in for life and block him from potentially trying again in next election. Therefore, his supporters backed the outsider on the basis that she would lose.”