Internal Hartlepool Labour Memo Plans By-Election Candidate Stitch Up

Guido has seen a bombshell internal memo from the Hartlepool CLP secretary revealing the local party’s strategy. The document warns of huge division with the Labour Left over candidate selection. Under a section of the document entitled “Securing Our Candidate”, the local party leadership warns their preferred “single candidate short list” would be “fairly controversial” with the Left. They are hoping to parachute EU-loving, tweet deleting former Stockton South MP Paul Williams into the seat, ditching his year-long campaign to become Police and Crime Commissioner…

“Should things progress as expected with Jon heading for PCC and Paul accepting the offer of the parliamentary candidature we’ll need to act to secure these arrangements. With a single candidate short list being fairly controversial (and with certain factions in the party certain to try to make a grab or call foul) LOTO require a formal letter from us to the NEC requesting that Paul be our candidate. The Left will make a big deal of this and paint the selection as a stitch up by Starmer. We need to make it absolutely clear that these arrangements are local and that, in the absence of a full selection process and the choice of a local candidate, Paul is the choice of the CLP.”

The memo also embarrassingly concedes that Paul Williams and the national Labour Party are not well informed about the area. Under a section of the document entitled “Parliamentary Election Brief”, the local party chiefs concede:

“It seems clear that the party and Paul aren’t quite as well informed as we’d like them to be re the town and our electorate – as soon as were able I believe we need to arrange meetings with Paul, LOTO and the CLPs election team to go through a full briefing and plan. They won’t win this if they take a generic and national approach, is key we provide them with the info they need and are robust enough in our arguments to ensure they listen.”

Seeking to stitch up the selection with someone they concede doesn’t know the town. How could this go wrong…

Read the email in full below…

Afternoon all,

Considerations:

CLP Public Statement re. Mike’s resignation.

We’re going to need this ready but need to discuss tone and content, we need to be conscious of leaving ourselves space to match the tone taken by the wider party and the by-election campaign whilst also being conscious of Mike’s mental health. Quite a few thoughts on this but I’m a firm believer in grabbing the nettle -this needs to be short and sharp to allow the narrative to move on as quickly os possible.

Informing the EC

It’s only fair that our local executive (and then the wider party) hear of Mike’s resignation from us – Indy we’ll need to have on Idea of approximate times and if possible to have copies of Mike’s statement to go out as it happens. I’d suggest we also include our public/press statement in this email too along with a further comment for members from Moss as chair. We can inform the EC through WhatsApp as soon as it happens, this needs to come with an invite to an emergency EC meeting for Monday evening.

Securing Our Candidate

Should things progress as expected with Jon heading for PCC and Paul accepting the offer of the parliamentary candidature we’ll need to act to secure these arrangements. With a single candidate short list being fairly controversial (and with certain factions in the party certain to try to make a grab or call foul) LOTO require a formal letter from us to the NEC requesting that Paul be our candidate. The left will make a big deal of this and paint the selection as a stitch up by Starmer. We need to make it absolutely clear that these arrangements ore local and that, in the absence of a full selection process and the choice of a local candidate, Paul is the choice of the CLP.

GC

With GC set to take place on Friday I’d suggest its suspension and replacement with on emergency all member meeting at which we’ll bring members up to speed and provide an open forum for questions and discussion. Should the meeting take place in this format it will not hove sovereign authority over the executive, as a result well need to make a decision and plan accordingly should we require any formal resolutions from the wider party membership (the timeline is likely to move incredibly quickly making Friday too late anyway, the executive will have to act to deliver anything requiring a democratic mandate IMO).

South Road

I’ve spoken with a Indy who’ll relay to Janet and the rest of Mike’s team but I’d suggest some formal contact will be required between the CLP as landlord and the office as tenants. Indy believes the office can be cleared and ready for campaign use within the week with all technology and files binned or safely locked away in Mike’s small office. I’ve asked Indy to speak to Janet about a cleaner to give the whole place (not the attic) a thorough clean from top to bottom as soon as things are cleared. I’d suggest we need to spend some time in there next weekend looking at arrangements and lay out to provide a covid safe environment from which we can manage 32 local elections, a parliamentary election, and the PCC election (at least in part).

Parliamentary Election Brief

It seems clear that the party and Paul aren’t quite as well informed as we’d like them to be re the town and our electorate – as soon as were able I believe we need to arrange meetings with Paul, LOTO and the CLPs election team to go through a full briefing and plan. They won’t win this if they take a generic and national approach, it’s key we provide them with the info they need and are robust enough in our arguments to ensure they listen.

Local Election

We need to consider what all of the above does to our local election timescales and plan. Do we go ahead with our leaflet drop? How closely aligned are the two campaigns set to be? Having given it some thought it seems clear to me that the locals and taking the council are the only mechanism of delivery available to us -Paul can’t promise anything as an opposition MP, as part of a wider and reforming Labour team we can promise the wide scale reforms in our manifesto and more…

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