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Labour expected to drop two general election candidates

todayJune 4, 2024 1

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Labour expected to drop two general election candidates

The Labour Party is expected to drop two of its general election candidates in Gosport and Barking following a crunch meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) today.

An email from the office of the general secretary, seen by Sky News, says the party is “not recommending candidates for endorsement” in Gosport or Barking as there are “outstanding NEC processes yet to conclude”.

Labour had selected Edward Batterbury for Gosport and Darren Rodwell, the leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, for the parliamentary seat of Barking.

It comes after Mr Rodwell issued a statement on X on Monday, in which he said allegations about his behaviour had been made to Labour’s complaints unit.

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“I utterly refute what is being said,” he wrote.

“I have not engaged in sexual harassment of any kind. I did not indulge in ‘inappropriate touching’ of an attendee at an event last month.

“I have no recollection of meeting someone for a coffee to discuss development in Barking – there is no evidence of any such meeting in my diary.

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“Likewise, I have no recollection of asking personal questions.”

He continued: “It’s not clear what drinks I was ordering, but for the record, I do not drink alcohol.

“It is inconceivable I would have touched someone’s hands, legs and body inappropriately.

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“I can only imagine I am a victim of some sort of attempt to prevent me being selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Barking.

“I am prepared fully to address this complaint, I am in the process of consulting lawyers and I would ask it were expedited so my candidature can proceed.”

Sky News has approached the Labour Party, Mr Batterbury and Mr Rodwell for comment.

Labour’s NEC met this afternoon to approve its list of candidates going into the general election – including Diane Abbott, who has now been confirmed as the party’s candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

It follows the controversy surrounding Ms Abbott, who initially believed she had been barred from standing for Labour following her suspension last year for suggesting that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people experience prejudice rather than racism.

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‘I spoke to Diane two or three months ago’

Ms Abbott issued a swift apology following the comments, but was stripped of the Labour Party whip, forcing her to sit as an independent MP in the Commons.

With the deadline fast approaching for Labour to finalise its candidates, there were mounting questions over Ms Abbott’s future and whether she would be able to run for the party in Hackney North.

The Times then reported last week she had had the whip restored but would be barred from standing in the seat she has held for nearly 40 years.

A backlash against the decision – and the manner in which it was briefed to the media – followed, with Angela Rayner telling Sky News she did not see “any reason” why Ms Abbott could not run for the party on 4 July.

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Sir Keir then declared that Ms Abbott was in fact “free” to run for the party while he praised her reputation as “trailblazer” and the UK’s first female black MP.

Ms Abbott has been critical of the way her case was handled and was one of a number of party figures to accuse the Labour leader of carrying out a “cull” of left-wing former MPs and candidates, after Faiza Shaheen was also blocked in Chingford and Woodford Green and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the former MP for Brighton Kemptown, was suspended after a “serious complaint” was made against him.

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In a social media statement, Mr Russell-Moyle said he believed the “false allegation” was a “vexatious and politically motivated complaint” about his behaviour eight years ago that was “designed to disrupt the election”.

On Tuesday morning Ms Shaheen said she had resigned from Labour, saying she believed her “removal shows that the desires of the local members and my community mean nothing to the people at the top of the party”.

Sir Keir has denied blocking those on the left, saying he simply wants the “highest quality candidates” in the election.

The candidates standing in Gosport are:
Labour – TBC
Conservatives – Caroline Dinenage
Reform UK – Matt Mulliss
Green Party – Tony Sudworth

The candidates standing in Barking are:
Green Party – Simon Ronald Anthony
Liberal Democrats – Charley Hasted
Reform UK – Clive Peacock
Conservatives – Julie Redmond
Workers Party of Britain – Hamid Shah
Labour – TBC

The Electoral Commission deadline to become a candidate for the general election is at 4pm on Friday.

Written by: Newsroom

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