Labour picks Trotskyite to fight Brighton council seat as Momentum plans clean sweep on the seaside

A three-time candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was selected last night as a Labour council candidate in Brighton & Hove.

Phil Clarke stood against the Labour Party on three separate occasions, for TUSC in 2011 and 2013 on an ‘illegal budget’ platform, and for the Socialist Party in 2007. The Socialist Party was formerly the entryist organisation Militant Tendency, until its main players were expelled from Labour in the 1980s and decided to stand on its own platform, merging to create TUSC in 2010.

Clarke was at the heart of the suspension of Brighton & Hove Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in 2016, when he was elected to an officer position despite his ineligibility because of his past opposition to the Party.Clarke stood for the 2007 local elections on a slate alongside Tony Greenstein, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign who was expelled from the Labour Party after defaming Jewish MP, Louise Ellman, and journalist Owen Jones.

Momentum are eyeing up a takeover of the city’s local council this week, as Labour branches select their candidates for next year’s local elections, with several sitting councillors having stood down. Momentum were seeking to deselect the twelve of the remaining thirteen, but some sitting moderates are holding on.

The far-left slate of candidates includes just one sitting councillor – Nancy Platts, formerly Jeremy Corbyn’s Political Secretary and twice-defeated general election candidate in Brighton Pavilion and Brighton Kemptown. The slate also includes Colin Piper of Left Unity and the Socialist Alliance.

The slate is thought to have been drawn up by Greg Hadfield, who was suspended as a Labour Party member in 2014 for “threatening behaviour” and again in 2016 for alleged intimidation of Labour members.

The internet millionaire previously worked on a website with former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and before that as a Daily Mail and Express journalist. A Private Eye investigation in 2016 reported his support for Leigh Farrow, a Labour councillor who defected to UKIP.

Labour took control of Brighton and Hove Council in 2015, going from the third to first largest party, but have struggled to pass major reforms, which they blame on a coalition of Tories and Greens repeatedly voting down the minority administration’s plans.

Despite leader Warren Morgan’s record of increasing new council and affordable home building and keeping children’s centres and libraries open, he was forced to resign in February. The new leader, Daniel Yates, who was thought to have the support of the far-left (he was elected unopposed) but was not on Momentum’s slate, has been reselected. However, he know faces an uncertain future as Leader after just two months in the role.

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