Fresh Labour Row Erupts As Corbyn Supporters Cancel Election Of National Policy Forum Chair
The battle for control of Labour’s most senior decision-making bodies has erupted once more as trade unions and supporters of Jeremy Corbyn seek to protect their dominance at the top of the party, HuffPost has learned.
Just minutes before the party’s National Policy Forum (NPF) was due to gather in Leeds on Saturday morning, an emergency meeting of the ruling National Executive Committee officers’ group cancelled the election of its new chair.
Veteran activist Ann Black – who is opposed by Momentum – had been on course to defeat a union-backed rival Andi Fox in a hastily-arranged election to chair the hugely important policy forum, which sets Labour policy for future general elections.
Momentum decided to withdraw its support for Black this month, but she has since won the backing of MPs and others who feel she is an ‘honest broker’ with long experience in the party.
The NPF – which is made up of MPs, union reps, local members and others – was also set to discuss the party’s line on Brexit at the crunch meeting.
Former MP Ann Cryer and NPF chair announced this week she was stepping aside from the post, sparking a race to succeed her.
But as it emerged that Black was on course for victory, Corbyn supporters objected that there had been too little notice of the election and voted to cancel it.
A meeting of the NEC officers group voted by 5 votes to 1 to halt the election and NEC chair Andy Kerr was set to inform the Leeds meeting of the controversial decision, multiple source revealed.
At the heart of the row is the battle for membership of the party’s eight-member NEC officers’ group, which controls selection of Parliamentary candidates and other crucial issues.
Chairmanship of the NPF automatically carries membership of the officers’ group, which currently has a ‘Corbyn-friendly’ majority of six-to-one.