“Eyup! Is tha’ voting Labour?” is t’slogan on’t t-shirt of woman of t’people Rachael Maskell.
Labour’s York Central candidate showed just how local she is at Bootham Crescent last weekend, home to York City FC.
Except Rachael would never say “eyup!”, because she isn’t from York.
Or even the North.
She lived in London until just a few weeks before she was parachuted in as the Unite choice ahead of several local candidates. Indeed, when she tried to get selected back home in Erith and Thamesmead in 2009, she told supporters “I stand very much as a south east London candidate”. Presumably she put on a cockney accent back then…
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…
Decent Labour members are kicking off in York after Unite’s NHS agitator Rachael Maskell won a bitter selection battle to inherit Hugh Bayley’s seat. Local party members say Maskell was parachuted in ahead of several local candidates, accusing her of being a Unite puppet who lived in London until only a few weeks ago. Concerns are also being raised about her alleged involvement in a “smear campaign” against her opponent in another selection, in the Erith seat in 2009. At the time the respected New Labour godfather Philip Gould claimed his 22 year-old daughter was the victim of an “outrageous and unacceptable” campaign to undermine her. Maskell was fighting for the seat with the helpful backing of Brownite bootboy Charlie Whelan. The hustings were then mysteriously called off after a ballot box was tampered with. With the Greens heavily targeting York Central, Maskell will need all the help she can get defending that 6,000 majority…