What election candidate selections tell us about Keir Starmer’s Labor Party

What election candidate selections tell us about Keir Starmer’s Labor Party

Image source, fake images

Screenshot, Georgia Gould is a councilor in Sir Keir Starmer’s constituency

  • Author, Paul Seddon and Becky Morton
  • Role, Political reporters

Sir Keir Starmer has been accused of excluding left-wingers and promoting their supporters, as the Labor Party approaches a general election.

The party now has a full list of candidates after struggling to fill vacancies following the surprise announcement that elections will take place on July 4.

The process has been dominated by a bitter dispute over whether veteran MP Diane Abbott, an ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, will be allowed to stand.

At the same time, the party has been accused of “parachuting” Starmerite candidates into seats against the wishes of local Labor members.

The full list of candidates will have to be approved on Tuesday at a meeting of the national executive committee (CNE), the party’s governing body.

But has Sir Keir really banished the left? What do the elections tell us about how the party would look in Parliament if it comes to power?

The Labor leader cannot hire and fire candidates at will, but he has a lot of power over the type of people who are elected.

The vast majority of the party’s electoral candidates were already elected before the elections were called, selected by local branches from centrally approved long lists.

But the short time left until election day, July 4, has reduced the role of local members, as the national party follows a fast-track process to fill scheduled seats, or MPs withdraw or are suspended. .

In this case it is a panel of members of the NEC – a committee dominated by Starmer supporters – who review the applications and choose the party’s candidate.

Rise of the Starmerites

The list of new faces contains potential clues as to what a Starmer government would look like if the Labor leader walks through the doors of Downing Street in five weeks’ time.

Candidates close to the Labor leadership include Heather Iqbalformer adviser to shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, and Chris Wardformer deputy chief of staff to Sir Keir.

Ward has been chosen to fight Brighton Kemptown, the seat held by Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

In Chingford and Woodford Green, another figure on the party’s left, Faiza Shaheen, was prevented from standing and replaced by a Starmer supporter.

Shama TatlerBrent councillor, is co-chair of the Labor To Win group, which was set up to support Sir Keir’s leadership after his election.

Image source, fake images

Screenshot, Faiza Shaheen stood as a Labor candidate in 2019

Perhaps the most politically consistent selection for the brand is Georgia Gouldleader of Sir Keir’s Camden local council and daughter of Blair-era strategist Lord Philip Gould.

As head of the north London authority, she has championed the “mission-driven” approach to government, with teams organized around broad, long-term goals, which Sir Keir has put at the center of his plan to win power. .

Policy experts from Starmer-friendly think tank Labor Together are also on the list.

These include jose simonswho resigned as the party’s policy adviser after seven months under Corbyn and is now its candidate in the safe seat of Makerfield.

Long seen as a sounding board for the party’s Starmerite wing, Labor Together has donated staff to several shadow cabinet ministers and is expected to be influential in shaping the party’s manifesto.

Another candidate from the world of think tanks is Torsten Belldirector of the Resolution Foundation, which focuses on low wages.

Screenshot, Torsten Bell is director of the Resolution Foundation

Another striking feature of the recent selections is those who have military backgrounds, perhaps reflecting Sir Keir’s focus on the importance of national security.

These include former Royal Navy colonel Alistair Carns and RAF pilot Calvin Bailey.

The installation of pro-Starmer candidates – and the blocking of some leftists – has led to accusations of a last-minute “purge” before the election.

But the starmification of the Labor machine has been flying under the radar for some time.

The 2020 CNE elections were a key moment, with Sir Keir consolidating his control over the committee by electing candidates who espoused a pro-leadership platform.

Several of these CNE members have been chosen to fight for highly winnable parliamentary seats.

Labor Party Activists to Win Lucas Akehurst and Gurinder Singh Josanwho have been vocal Starmer supporters, have been chosen as candidates for North Durham and Smethwick, both with healthy Labor majorities.

But while the party’s left has certainly been weakened by the overthrow of key figures like Corbyn, it has not been completely annihilated.

More than 25 members of the Socialist Campaign Group remain Labor candidates, including former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Richard Burgon and Zarah Sultana.

If Labor wins power, the smaller its majority, the more powerful this bloc will be, as Sir Keir may have to rely on its votes to pass laws.

A full list of candidates for all constituencies will be available on the BBC News website when nominations have closed.