Sssshhhh! Keep it quiet, but Steve Reed OBE’s secret campaign to undermine and unseat the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party came to central Croydon this morning with a visit of the challenger, Owen Smith. Not that Reed, vice-chairman of the Progress party-within-a-party, bothered telling many of the Labour members in the Croydon North constituency he is supposed to represent.
It’s a curious way to run any sort of campaign – bringing in the candidate in a hush-hush operation for a visit that is unpublicised and kept secret from many potentially interested people.
Inside Croydon checked with the political reporter of BBC London. They knew nothing about it.
We asked several Croydon Labour councillors, too. They’d heard rumours of some sort of meeting, but were denied any further information.
And we spoke to officials from Croydon’s local Labour parties, and they, too, were uninvited to this most select gathering.
It didn’t even rate a mention on Smith’s own campaign website’s news and event sections. Maybe it just wasn’t really important.
The only publicity the event received appears to be a couple of poorly taken pictures circulated on social media by Reed’s golfing gofer, John Wentworth, the Croydon councillor who likes to watch football in the Town Hall during council meetings.
In the frame this morning with Wentworth, Reed and Smith were Ann O’Connor, the Reed loyalist recently installed as the chair of the Croydon North CLP, together with Shafi Khan, a Norbury ward councillor, and Sarah Jones, the chair of Croydon Central CLP.
With support like that for Smith, and with a campaign organised like that, can there be any doubt about the outcome of the Labour leadership contest?
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