The internecine battles within Labour appear to be continuing, at least in this corner of south London, forcing the shutting down of one constituency party’s Twitter feed after whoever was controlling its social media went rogue this week.And there’s even been mutterings about disloyalty in sleepy South Croydon, where the Progress supporters who run the Constituency Labour Party with an iron grip have irked senior members by their choice of Jess Phillips as a guest speaker.
In Carshalton and Wallington, the CLP is without any formal Twitter presence this morning, after the account was removed abruptly on Friday when it was discovered that whoever ran it – considered a vital social media tool for political activity these days – had decided to air their anti-Corbyn sentiments in the formal profile section.
“We were the local Labour Party getting things done for people, but then the SWP and Momentum moved in and buggered it all up…”, someone had written.
When this was raised with a senior official in Sutton’s Labour Party, the account was removed immediately.
The account had the grand total of 699 followers, so clearly the officers of C&W CLP had been gaining not a great deal of attention for all those things that they were “getting done”.
Carshalton and Wallington is the last London parliamentary seat held by the Liberal Democrats, in the guise of Tom Brake. But despite the appalling mess created by the David Cameron-led coalition government, in which Brake was a minister, Labour barely made an impact in the constituency at last year’s General Election, where Siobhan Tate finished a long way back in third place, only just ahead of UKIP.
The CLP in Carshalton and Wallington has been noticeably to the right of the Labour Party, having nominated arch-Blairite Tessa “Bunga Bunga” Jowell as candidate for London Mayor in 2015, but denying its membership an opportunity to have a nomination meeting in the summer of 2016, when eventually Jeremy Corbyn was overwhelmingly re-elected as party leader.
Like Carshalton and Wallington, Croydon South CLP’s officials opted to avoid allowing its members to have a public meeting to discuss party leadership nominations. This is the same CLP leadership which thought it a good idea to have The Hon Emily Benn as a parliamentary candidate in 2015.
The Progress-backing household which controls Croydon South’s Labour Party, chairman Andy Bagnall – a former official with the employers’ organisation the CBI – and secretary Jo Milligan, last week invited Jess Philips as their latest speaker, drawing criticism from one of the borough’s most senior councillors because of the anti-Corbyn remarks made at a Labour meeting.
Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, likes to portray herself as some kind of “voice of the people”, though many are beginning to regard her as a Midlands motormouth without a great deal to say for herself. Her appearance on the satirical news panel show, Have I Got News For You, on Friday was decidedly lacking in any wit as she gawped her way through the recording, looking out of her depth.
Phillips spoke at the Croydon South meeting last Tuesday, and afterwards, Jane Avis, a former council cabinet member and Mayor of Croydon, tweeted, “Very restrained in my feedback considering how rude you were about Jeremy Corbyn – you even ‘jokingly’ accused him of using methods of torture!”
Another attendee at the meeting said, “Phillips was self-depracatory and disarming, but ultimately very disloyal to Corbyn.”
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