GORTON’S Constituency Labour Party faces a fierce internal battle as numerous candidates vie for the nomination in the area’s upcoming by-election following the death of MP Gerald Kaufman.
The seat, held by Kaufman in the 2015 general election with a majority of 24,000 is regarded as ‘ultra-safe’ by the party, although they face a strong challenge for the seat by veteran left winger George Galloway who announced he was standing as an independent candidate this week.
The party now faces a tight selection process in what has been seen as an important chapter in the ongoing proxy war between competing factions within the Labour Party.
Following the elimination of Jeremy Corbyn’s preferred candidate Sam Wheeler from the shortlist, Momentum has officially endorsed Councillor Yasmin Dar for the position, releasing a statement saying: “Cllr Dar is a committed socialist and true community representative for the people of Gorton.
“A UNITE member, social worker and resident of Whalley Range for over 40 years she has the campaigning and political credentials to represent the whole of this diverse community.”
Her closest rival for the nomination appears to be former councillor and MEP for the North West Afzal Khan, who has received the backing of several major trade unions including Unite, Usdaw, GMB and CWU and is seen to be the preferred candidate of Keith Vaz and Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who are both on the selection panel.
— Afzal Khan MEP (@akhanmep) March 21, 2017
Khan said: “As a former Manchester councillor, Lord Mayor and now an MEP, I’m a proven campaigner with a track record of hard work of hard work and delivering for my constituents.”
Speaking exclusively to Quays News, Galloway said: “I was a close friend of Sir Gerald Kaufman for more than 30 years and our friendship started when I was an MP and continued when I ceased to be.
“I have been talking to people in the Gorton constituency since Sir Gerald died and now I’ve got quite a considerable level of support amongst the voters there.”
The Labour candidate will be announced following a selection meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 22nd March.