Bassetlaw council leader out of race to be MP amid ‘stitch-up’ claims

Bassetlaw District Council leader Simon Greaves has had his hopes dashed in the race to become the area's next Labour MP.
Bassetlaw District Council leader Simon Greaves has had his hopes dashed in the race to become the area's next Labour MP.

Bassetlaw Labour Party figures fear the constituency’s next Parliamentary candidate is to be chosen in London after a leading local hopeful failed to make the shortlist.

The names of those on the shortlist have yet to be revealed, but Bassetlaw District Council leader Simon Greaves has already announced that his campaign to become an MP has been unsuccessful.

Simon’s supporters argued that his established reputation and work fighting for local jobs and inward investment, and against Tory austerity, made him the oustanding candidate.

Coun Greaves said: “I have a record to be proud of and only asked the party I have loyally served since 2002 as a councillor, and 2012 as council leader, give me the chance to democratically put my case to local members. It is an outrage.”

Selection processes are ongoing all over the country, and often become battlegrounds between different political and community factions.

In several cases, questions have been raised about the elimination of particular local candidates in favour of those thought to be preferred by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

In the context of the party’s internal struggles of recent years, a majority of the NEC’s current members are seen as sympathetic to the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Outgoing MP John Mann, a frequent critic of the leadership, said: “Under Simon, Bassetlaw Labour has had more councillors than at any time in its 100 year history, and more women in office than the previous 90 years added together. It’s not good enough for Corbyn’s cult though.

“It is absolutely outrageous. He is electorally the most successful Labour leader in the North and Midlands. This is a vicious Stalinist attack on democracy.”

Councillor Josie Potts said: “I thought Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was about party democracy not jobs for the boys.

“It is an outrage that the person local people have elected, and re-elected as council leader is denied a place on the shortlist. This is a not a stitch-up it’s a bloody tapestry.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Members will democratically select their candidate with local members on the shortlisting panels.

“An election could be round the corner, so we are moving quickly to make sure we have candidates and campaigns ready to go to defeat the Tories so we can end austerity and transform society.”