MPs can't ignore their local party any more.
Labour’s Brexiteer in chief Kate Hoey has decided not to try and fight the next election as Labour’s candidate in Vauxhall, south London.
Hoey is wildly unpopular in her local Labour Party. In July 2018, Vauxhall Labour Party passed a motion calling for their MP to lose the whip over her support for Brexit.
In a move unlikely to win back support, Hoey said she was “quite relaxed” about this vote and said “it won’t influence in any way how I vote in future”.
While Hoey campaigned to leave the European Union, nearly 80% of people in Lambeth (the borough Vauxhall is in) voted to remain.
Hoey’s views on fox hunting and grammar schools are also at odds with most Labour members.
Despite the gulf between Hoey and her local members, they may not have been able to remove her as their candidate if not for a Momentum-led push for mandatory reselection at the last Labour Party conference.
Momentum did not manage to achieve mandatory reselection – where every MP has to win a vote of local members to be their candidate in a general election.
However, a compromise agreement was passed which made it easier to make MPs face a local party vote.
Previously, the support of 50% of local party branches and affiliated unions was needed to force an election. Now, this has been reduced to 33%.
Hoey claims she was never going to stand in 2020 and had to be persuaded to run in 2017. Only she will know if this is ture. It may well be. She is 73.
But the re-selection threat took the decision out of her hands. Party members would have de-selected her and she will have known that.
So now Remain-supporting Vauxhall will be represented by a Remain-supporting MP and Vauxhall Labour Party can go into the next election without the electoral liability that is Kate Hoey.
So who will Labour field instead? Whoever most impresses Labour’s 2,000 party members in Vauxhall.
It will surely be a Remainer and hopefully an ordinary person from the local area and someone BAME – as Labour’s candidates in target seats are currently overwhelmingly white.
Councillor Ibrahim Dogus, the founder of the British Kebab Awards, is among those understood to be standing.
He said: “Our constituency is fiercely a remain one and had strong disagreements with Kate Hoey on various issues but we thank Kate for her 30 years of service and wish her all the best.”
Laura Parker, Momentum national co-ordinator, is also rumoured to be running.
She declined to comment on whether she would stand but told Left Foot Forward: “Kate Hoey has, finally, made the right decision. There should be no place in Labour for people who have campaigned alongside the racist Nigel Farage.
In a statement on Facebook, Momentum said: “Kate Hoey is a no deal supporting, anti gay rights, fox hunting advocate who shared a platform with Nigel Farage.”
“She couldn’t be more out of step with her Vauxhall constituents, and we look forward to backing a Corbyn supporting, socialist candidate in an open selection.”
In response to this article, Kate Hoey replied: “Pathetic you clearly didn’t read my statement I made it clear in 2015 that I would not be sanding in 2020. But you remainers can only write ‘fake news’ as usual.”
Joe Lo is a freelance journalist and a reporter for Left Foot Forward
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