Jeremy Corbyn’s office intervened in a controversial selection process that saw Ishmael Osamor picked as a council candidate after his arrest for drugs offences, a senior source has revealed.
The son of Labour frontbencher Kate Osamor resigned as a Haringey councillor last week after it was revealed he had been caught bringing £2,500 of cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, and cannabis into a music festival. Osamor pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to a two-year community order and 20 days rehabilitation. His mother is continuing to employ her son as her communications officer.
Osamor Jr had been selected in a process that attracted allegations of rule-breaking and harassment over the replacement of more than 20 sitting councillors with Momentum-backed candidates, a number of whom went on to lose to the Liberal Democrats in this year’s local elections.
Now a senior source in Haringey Labour has revealed to The Red Roar that Corbyn’s office “intervened in the Haringey Panel interviews and replaced the chairs that had previously been identified with Claudia Webbe”, a Corbyn ally and Momentum-backed member of Labour’s NEC. The move was seen as an attempt to ensure that far-left candidates were selected for seats in the borough.
While Webbe presided over the process, Kate Osamor had helped deselect the candidates who her son then replaced. Funnily enough, some months later Kate Osamor would sit on the panel that duly shortlisted Claudia Webbe as a candidate for the Lewisham East by-election.
It was also claimed last week that Osamor Jr had attempted to get rid of 84 year-old Sheila Peacock over a private Facebook comment she made, complaining that some of the newly selected candidates had no previous record of campaigning for Labour. The Momentum-controlled local campaign forum (LCF) upheld Osamor’s complaint, forcing Peacock to re-interview for the party’s endorsement.
This is said not to be an isolated incident, but part of a strategy of regular vexatious complaints and harassment by Haringey Momentum.
The question remains whether Ishmael Osamor will continue to be paid over £30,000 of taxpayer’s money for his role in his mum’s Parliamentary office. The Labour leadership’s outriders have come to his defence, with Owen Jones asking “who cares?” and Novara Media’s Michael Walker describing the £2,500 worth of drugs Osamor Jr was in possession of as “a small batch”.