Jon Lansman, who is running Rebecca Long-Bailey’s leadership campaign, has been accused of attempting to stitch up the selection of a London Assembly candidate.
Ninety Southwark and Lambeth Labour councillors have signed a letter registering their outrage and calling for the process to choose their Assembly representative to be reopened. With the London mayoral election coming up in May, Sadiq Khan’s campaign team won’t be pleased that a significant number activists are going to war with the party.
Despite several highly qualified candidates being interviewed for the seat, including the deputy leader of Lambeth council and local council cabinet members, no local councillors were shortlisted. The original candidate, Flo Eshalomi, was elected to Parliament in December.
The panel which drew up the shortlist was formed of Jim Kelly (Regional Chair and Unite), Michelle Gordon (GMB), and Jon Lansman. Local members believe the panel agreed to put forward one GMB candidate, one from Momentum, and three weak candidates with no local support. Suggestions that it was a fixed process are supported by the fact that interviews for more qualified candidates lasted as little as seven minutes.
Momentum have nominated Sakina Sheikh, who was defeated in the Lewisham East selection, where local members took a dim view of Sheikh declaring her candidacy just days after being elected as a councillor for the first time. GMB rep, Taranjit Chana, who has no local profile, was the union’s choice.
Members will be given a choice between Sheikh, Chana, two councillors from outside the borough, and Shahina Jaffer who has never held public office.
Lansman’s role in denying local members a fair choice suggests the party selections may continue in much the same way should Rebecca Long-Bailey become Labour leader.