Slick Whipping Operation For “Oily” Smith

Opponents of Owen Smith complain that the Labour whips office has intervened to ensure he beats Angela Eagle’s number of nominations. Smith was spotted deep in discussion with whip and top schemer Conor McGinn yesterday – the pair are close and McGinn’s wife used to work for Smith as an aide. McGinn, who was accused of orchestrating Shadow Cabinet resignations, is incidentally very close to Tom Watson…

Who is helping run Smith’s operation? Heidi Alexander and Lucy Powell have been canvassing on his behalf, and Vernon Coaker has been talking him up on the terrace. Smith has the backing of the “old right” of the party, which is ironic given he used to be a Blairite and is now positioning himself as a competent version of Corbyn. Smith’s official line is that he only decided in the last few days that he had to stand. This has surprised Labour MPs who received phone calls six months ago asking if they would support his bid. It’s a slick operation for “oily” Smith


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