A London councillor and Remainer has been selected as the Labour Party’s candidate in a constituency which voted 67 percent in favour of leaving the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The choice of Sally Gimson - who is married to former Daily Telegraph journalist Andrew Gimson - to replace John Mann in Bassetlaw opens the party up to accusations that it is out of touch with Labour voters.
The selection was one of a number which have taken place over the last two weeks which have riled local activists because strong local candidates have been omitted in favour of those who are supported by trade unions or the left-wing Momentum movement.
Bassetlaw voted to Leave by 67%. With John Mann standing down, Labour has selected a new candidate.— Emily Barley (@ThinkEmily) October 27, 2019
....Sally Gimson. Ex-Camden Councillor, remain campaigner. She was endorsed by Keir Starmer, who is doing his level best to block Brexit.
Mr Mann himself tweeted about the selection and said it had been a “stitch-up” but had not given Momentum the result they wanted.
Mr Mann fell out with Jeremy Corbyn and announced earlier this year he would be stepping down at the general election and had been appointed by Boris Johnson’s government as its "anti-semitism tsar."
Congratulations to Sally Gimson, Highgate Cllr selected as Bassetlaw Labour candidate. Momentum stitch up doesn’t give them the result they expected.— John Mann (@LordJohnMann) October 27, 2019
Mr Mann told LBC on Sunday, 27 October the reason Labour was 16 percentage points behind the Tories at the moment was Jeremy Corbyn and said: "Him and the henchmen around him seem more content on destroying the Labour Party in order to get their Marxist allies in as candidates and as MPs to create some kind of revolutionary base inside Parliament. So, that's what's going on at the moment with them stitching up local selections to stop good local people."
Mr Mann said the leader of Bassetlaw Council, Simon Greaves, had been deliberately kept off the shortlist available for local members at the selection meeting on Sunday.
Mr Mann said: "That's an example, there are very many of them, where they're stitching up, they're keeping out all the normal people, the successful local council leaders, people like that. They're keep them off the shortlist to try and parachute in their own mates."
Among the seats where local activists have cried foul is Ealing North, a safe Labour seat where the retiring MP Steve Pound had a majority of almost 20,000 in 2017.
Local favourites Bassam Mahfouz and Lewis Cox were omitted from the long list, which meant they were unable to challenge James Murray, who is Sadiq Khan’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and had the backing of the Unite trade union.
Mr Murray consequently easily won the vote at the selection meeting on Friday, 25 October.
On Saturday, 26 October, Enfield North selected Feryal Clark, another Deputy Mayor in Sadiq Khan’s office, to replace Joan Ryan who defected from Labour in February.
Enfield North members were outraged that no local candidates were included on the shortlist but Clark beat Dean Gilligan, who had the backing of the GMB and had been widely tipped to be the favoured candidate of the National Executive Committee.
The PPC selection process has shown that the Unions and some on the left can be just as self serving and careerist as anyone. Socialism can't be delivered from on high but only by a genuine mass movement with real grass roots democracy.— Ed Poole (@edwardpoole1975) October 26, 2019
Labour List referred to 27 October as “Super Sunday” with a number of selections in safe seats - Florence Eshalomi pipped Katy Clark, Jeremy Corbyn’s former political secretary, to be selected in Vauxhall, to replace the outgoing Brexit maverick Kate Hoey, while 23-year-old Nadia Whittome was selected in Nottingham East to replace Chris Leslie, who defected from Labour to the Independent Group of Change in February.
I'm immensely honoured to be Labour’s candidate for Nottingham East.— Nadia Whittome (@NadiaWhittome) October 27, 2019
Thank you for putting your trust in me. I will fight for a radical Labour government and I want Nottingham to lead the way in the socialist transformation of our society. pic.twitter.com/3fdRdkkrLq
Momentum-backed Paula Barker was also selected for Luciana Berger’s old seat in Liverpool Wavertree. Berger, who is Jewish and left Labour amid claims of anti-Semitism, defected to the Liberal Democrats and is to stand in Finchley & Golders Green, which has a high percentage of Jewish voters.
Susan Dungworth was selected in Blyth Valley - a pro-Leave constituency - to replace the retiring Ronnie Campbell and Momentum-backed Apsana Begum was chosen in Poplar and Limehouse to replace Jim Fitzpatrick, who is standing down, aged 67.