CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Starmer’s claims to be Labour’s unity candidate are far wide of the mark

30 January, 2020

Sir Keir Starmer

• WE write as trade unionists and socialist Labour Party members in Keir Starmer’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency (CLP).

Some of us backed Sir Keir Starmer to replace our long-serving, well-respected and wonderful constituency MP, the late Frank Dobson. As Keir is now a candidate for the leadership to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, he has positioned himself as the “unity candidate” who will end party factionalism.

But, as members of Sir Keir’s CLP, we have seen no evidence of his ability to achieve this – and indeed our recent constituency AGM was once again an acrimonious affair where candidates of the centre/right were elected by a big majority – despite the calibre of the left candidates.

Time and time again, as left-leaning members we have been subjected to hostility and abuse, a symptom of the chronic factionalism in our CLP. Those that are close to Keir Starmer, rather than welcome involvement from the left, have actively prevented it.

Our efforts and attempts to work together have been met with obstruction and aggression and we have been blocked by an entitled and embittered right-wing slate that has prevented any involvement in the CLP’s Officers Group. This is important, because this has happened on Keir Starmer’s watch.

Keir Starmer presides over a constituency Labour Party which contains only officers with a history of outright opposition to Jeremy Corbyn. As left-leaning party members we have been completely marginalised by the right in the local party who support Keir Starmer.

Claiming to be the unity candidate should be more than a catchy campaign slogan. We are gravely concerned that under a Keir Starmer leadership all socialists in the party will be treated as we have been.

Therefore any socialist thinking about supporting Keir Starmer should think again and instead support a candidate that welcomes and supports socialist policies and encourages the active involvement of socialist members!

Before members cast their vote for party leader they should ask if the candidates support the following socialist commitments:

• Open selection of Labour parliamentary candidates.

• Unequivocal endorsement of Labour’s 2019 manifesto: “It’s Time for Real Change.”

• The provision of unequivocal evidence in their own constituency of having worked to end party factionalism.

MEMBERS OF HOLBORN AND ST PANCRAS LABOUR PARTY: Helena Aksentijevic, Ruth Appleton, Heather Bower, Sue Campbell, Una Doyle, Andrew Feinstein, Martin Fahey, Sarah Friday, Dorothea Hackman, Caroline Holding, Amelia Horgan, Ollie Hill, Jonathan Hough, Riva Joffe, Stephen Kapos, Jose Mansilla, Gareth Murphy, Paul O’Brien, Luke Pearson, Diane Pearson, Simon Pearson, John Purcell, Tom Reed, Paul Renny, Shezan Renny, Linda Sayle, Amanda Sebestyen, Ranjit Singh, Lucy Thomas-Moy, Phil Vasilli, Peter Wickenden

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