Wednesday, October 09, 2019

South Tyneside Labour bun fight

It seems a Labour Party bun fight is breaking out in South Tyneside, next door to us in Gateshead. Stephen Hepburn, Labour MP for Jarrow (which includes a small part of Gateshead) has been suspended because of allegations, dating back to 2005, of sexual harassment. If there is a snap general election, this could mean an early retirement for this MP.

Meanwhile, his neighbour in South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, is facing being replaced as MP after members of her constituency backed a trigger ballot which opens up the selection contest to anyone interested in becoming a Labour MP.

For an aspiring Labour politician, South Shields would be a plum constituency. It's been Labour held for as long as anyone can remember and MPs there are returned with comfortable majorities. A recent holder of the constituency was David Miliband who resigned to spend less time with his family (little brother Ed had just become Labour leader). I am not aware of the reasons for the attempts to unseat Ms Lewell-Buck though her recent suggestion that she could contemplate a coalition with the Brexit Party may not have endeared her to her local members. Nevertheless, South Shields would be a prize catch for a Labour would-be MP. I wonder whether that is motivating some of her Labour opponents.

She does, however, have some choice descriptions she has applied to those trying to unseat her. According to the Chronicle, they are "bullies and tricksters", "evil" and "corrupt cadre".

She also revealed that problems within her constituency Labour party have been going on for years. 
Ms Lewell-Buck said, “I am not the first MP for South Shields to face this kind of continued abuse. Complaints about the behaviour of my CLP have been a constant for many years and it is a sad fact that the party nationally has failed repeatedly to deal decisively with the deep level of corruption that exists there.”

They're not a happy bunch in South Tyneside Labour! And the more they fight themselves, the less they can fight their opponents outside the Labour Party.

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