To the surprise of nobody ever Momentum’s Apsana Begum won the selection process to be Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the Poplar and Limehouse constituency seat which will be vacated by Jim Fitzpatrick MP at the next general election.
Widely considered to have been subject to more rigging than the Cutty Sark, the voting by Constituency Labour Party (CLP) members this evening was held amongst scenes of chaos as members queued outside, with reports of intimidation and people being stopped from voting.
We can do better than this
Suzy Stride, who had been in contention for the PPC nomination at one point, asked in a tweet “Members of Poplar and Limehouse please do tweet any examples if the process tonight either intimidated you, or stopped you from voting – the process should have be[en] inclusive & it was not – we can and do much better than this.”
One veteran Labour Party member tweeted that “I’ve never, in all my born years seen such a chaotic, intimidating and shambolic process at Poplar & Limehouse selection meeting. It was the worst organised meeting I have ever attended (and I’ve been to many!). Shameful.”
Other CLP members who attended felt the the crowd was “so hostile and dangerous” that they and others left.
Another said “Absolute carnage at the Poplar & Limehouse PPC hustings today. Intimidation outside the venue, especially for women. Awful rabble beforehand and hostile atmosphere during.”
“Two lost votes. We waited amongst the rabble for over 45 mins and with no one taking control or telling the crowd what was happening we left,” said another female CLP member.
Apsana Begum: “A clean and positive campaign”
In contrast @ApsanaForPL tweeted that “I’m so truly humbled and excited to have been selected to run as the Labour candidate in Poplar and Limehouse. We ran a clean, positive and people powered campaign. I would like to thank my fantastic opponent Amina Ali, in a campaign fought by strong BAME women.”
Apsana Begum must have been at another selection process.
A candidate selected by the national leaders of Momentum. A blatantly rigged candidate selection process. Tribal politics at its worst. Allegations of voter intimidation at the hustings. Chaotic scenes outside and inside the venue. Women specifically targeted for intimidation. A “hostile and dangerous” crowd requiring police attendance.
Local politicians once again bring shame on our borough.
LW has talked to many Labour Party members over the last few weeks all of whom have been honest politicians who want to serve residents. Those who have not been directly involved in Tower Hamlets politics in recent years have been genuinely shocked at what their party has descended to.
It now falls on women like these to stand up and be counted. That is the only way the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets can ever be returned to something resembling its original reason for existence, but it will take many years to do so.
Tonight’s events will alienate even more Labour Party voters from their party and it seems more and more likely that when Jim Fitzpatrick MP retires he will take his 25,000 Labour majority with him.