The Momentum-backed candidate for Newham mayor, Rokshana Fiaz, has turned to a figure from the old Labour ‘right’ – Ian McKenzie – to help run her selection campaign.
The bitter battle to be Labour’s mayoral candidate in the London borough concludes on Friday afternoon, when the result of the vote is announced.
It has turned into another left versus right fight, with the long-serving Labour incumbent Sir Robin Wales trying to cling on in the face of a Momentum-led insurgency.
But Red Roar understands Fiaz has now turned to McKenzie, who has been touring the country with Labour First advising moderates on how to ‘crush’ Momentum activists in their local parties.
As Red Roar has previously noted, Fiaz is a former Labour party press officer who worked for the party in the 2005 election campaign and supported Tony Blair.
The decision to seek assistance from McKenzie underlines how close the contest has become. But it may also raise questions about her ideological purity in the eyes of the hard-left.
Fiaz has sought to win over Momentum in a borough where there are fewer Momentum activists than there are in nearby Haringey, which is now a left-wing citadel controlled by Jon Lansman’s group. She recently spent nearly two hours with the Momentum founder at the Local Government Association conference and has promised to scrap the mayoral model if selected.
A win for her would be regarded as a win for Momentum in a second London borough, following its takeover of Haringey earlier this year.
It is understandable that Fiaz would turn to an old colleague in the Labour movement for help and her campaign is said to be more disciplined as a result as it moves into its final stages.
But after wrapping herself in the Momentum banner at the outset of the campaign, many in Newham now wonder if she is using Momentum as a flag of convenience in order to improve her chances of victory.