After Paterson: push Labour to fight Tories

Submitted by AWL on 9 November, 2021 - 7:16 Author: Martin Thomas
Owen Paterson and Boris Johnson

“So feeble that it couldn’t run a whelk stall - or would hesitate to try, in case whelks were upset”, commented a Johnson-sceptic Tory columnist on Labour’s current leadership.

Former Tory minister Owen Paterson was allotted 30 days’ suspension from Parliament for (highly) paid lobbying of government on behalf of two companies, one also a big player in the Covid-contracts-without-tenders scandal. The Tory government tried to change the rules after the event to let Paterson off, and to ease the way for Boris Johnson in his next hearing on paid-lobbying issues.

The rule-change only just scraped through, after a Tory MPs’ revolt. Shaken, the government u-turned. Paterson resigned. With such a big Tory revolt, Starmer felt safe to speak out. Big-business and conservative “whelks” would not be upset.

Will this set off a virtuous circle of Johnson’s support eroding from his repeated “tinpot Mussolini” essays and repeated u-turns, and Labour’s timid leaders being emboldened? Probably not without democratic pressure from the rank and file and the unions. The Labour leadership’s latest reported move, however, is another to stall that pressure. According to LabourList, it plans to push through the “trigger ballots” on sitting MPs (to decide whether they are confirmed as candidates for next time without demur, or face contest) by June 2022, and have all candidates selected by March 2023.

The Boundary Commission is due to announce new parliamentary constituency allocations by mid-2023. The changes will probably benefit the Tories, so there is strong incentive for the Tories to wait until after mid-2023 for the next general election.

But, reports Labour List, “the NEC [National Executive Committee] is set to draw up a formula for how candidates confirmed or selected in 2022 are allocated to new seats” after mid-2023, instead of the new boundaries triggering new selections, as happens with local government wards.

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.