David Lammy is to be the star turn at a “launch” event for Labour’s new Croydon West constituency party – a move that could attract more demonstrations and protests over the party’s failure to condemn Israel’s prolonged attacks on civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.
New constituency boundaries, to be used for the first time at the next General Election, whenever that might be, have seen Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central since 2017, automatically taking up the Labour candidate role for the new Croydon West seat, without any kind of selection process.
The party is having a few problems with its selection of a parliamentary candidate for the new Croydon East seat, where the process came to a grinding halt two months ago, after vote-rigging and other serious allegations of misconduct came to light.
Labour Party members in Croydon East have endured radio silence since the end of November, with no explanation, no apology, no timetable and, most important of all, no general meeting to allow them to select their own local officials.
And Labour’s pusillanimity over the atrocities in the Middle East have created huge difficulties for the party in Croydon, where two of its MPs, Jones and Steve Reed, are colleagues of Lammy in Keir Starmer’s parliamentary team.
The management at a venue, booked to stage an election fund-raising dinner, cancelled the event because of Labour’s failure to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Another event to raise cash for the election campaign, with Blairite spin doctor Alastair Campbell as the guest speaker, has been arranged in secrecy to avoid any protests. Campbell, of course, was front and centre in the “dodgy dossier” affair 20 years ago that saw Britain enter an illegal war at the behest of the Americans.
And Lammy is likely to be a lightning rod for demonstrations at his Croydon West event, too: he is Starmer’s shadow foreign secretary who has been instrumental in framing the party’s current position over Israel and Palestine.
There’s no secrecy over where Lammy will be speaking: it will be at the usual venue for most Croydon Labour events, Ruskin House, on Tuesday January 30 from 7pm, in case you fancy pootling along.
According to a message sent to members, among the other attractions will be Michael Collins (no, not that one, but the latest party employee working as borough organiser), who “will talk us through Labour’s national campaign strategy”. That might take too long.
And there will be Michelle Gordon from the GMB to “talk to us about how trade unions are working hand-in-glove with Labour to campaign for change”.
And Mike Smith (no, not that one, but Croydon West’s vice-chair campaigns), “will talk to us about what Croydon West will be doing”.
Who would want to miss a line-up like that?
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: MP Reed, Evans and the Croydon connection
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