MAURICE MCLEOD is a well-known and well-liked Lambeth councillor and anti-racist campaigner, former political editor of The Voice, Britain’s foremost Black newspaper. When he threw his hat in the ring to replace the retiring Harriet Harman as Camberwell & Peckham’s parliamentary candidate, the local Labour left united around him.
Unite and Aslef branches also nominated Maurice. The fact that Maurice is Black was felt to be important in a multiracial constituency but it was not decisive; there were several Black candidates vying for the left’s support. What was important was his long record of support for socialist and internationalist causes, most significantly for open borders for all migrants.
Indeed this was probably what prompted Labour HQ to remove him from the long list of candidates in the selection process. They did this within 48 hours of the left hustings, yet two weeks down the line no reason has been given for barring Maurice from standing—except that he once liked a Green Party member’s tweet.
At the same time a prospective candidate who has recently joined the right wing Hindu-chauvinist BJP remains on the list, as does a member who was nominated by the local Co-op party, without a meeting of its members being called.
In short this is another stitch-up, just like in Stroud, Wakefield, Sedgefield, Milton Keynes and Kensington. Coming at a time when Labour is refusing to do anything about the Forde report’s revelations of anti-Black racism right within the party’s apparatus, it is also a racist stitch-up.
Three left wingers on the selection panel have resigned in disgust. Members should now boycott the fraudulent process, refuse to work with the winner and seek a trigger ballot as soon as possible.