96% of the publicity on the Derby Labour Party’s FB page is in direct support of Margaret Beckett. Of the 50 posts promoting the candidates, only 2 support Chris Williamson’s campaign. Why is he being snubbed?
Beckett is defending a majority of 8,828 in a seat which has always been a Labour hold, whereas Williamson’s sights are set on Derby North which has historically flipped between Labour and Conservative. In 2015 he lost the seat by 41 votes. He blamed the Green Party for this who, he believes took ~1000+ votes from his count and scuppered his guaranteed victory. Although the Green Party are not fielding a candidate at these elections, (most of these votes should drop into Williamson’s lap) – there is the small matter of 6500 UKIP voters. UKIP support is almost certain to collapse, with the votes being distributed amongst the 2 major parties. Very uncertain times for Williamson, and Derby North…..but a comfortable position for Margaret Beckett, in Derby South.
So why are the Derby Labour Party neglecting to put all of their energies into backing Williamson at every opportunity. Whilst door-knocking is an important tool in the campaign armoury…so is social media. Williamson has produced a number of short campaign films – none of which have been shared by the official local Labour Party page. One might have expected that the 26 Labour Councillors would be on a 3 line whip on canvassing duty, and pushing leaflets through the door in Derby North . Apart from a few loyal colleagues, the rest seem to be “otherwise engaged”.
It is well known in the shady corridors of the Council House, that there is a major split within the Derby Labour Party. There are those who support the Williamson/ Banwait axis….and then those who just don’t…. and there are many who don’t, with rumours of possible defections. Many Labour Councillors are very aware that Williamson’s influence over Banwait has resulted in him becoming one of the most unpopular Council Leaders, leaving the party wide open to losing overall control in the elections in May 2018.
Many insiders view the Williamson/Banwait axis as being the architect of the decline, and look forward to a change in leadership, direction and approach and a return to a much more traditional Labour administration in the City. Whilst the Labour group will want to see a Labour Government on June 9, it is evident that few feel enthusiastic about another 5 years of Williamson as they know that his control over the Council group will be over-bearing, will continue with the massively unpopular political strategy, and will mean a substantial loss of influence in the Chamber, from May 2018.
…and possibly, the Derby Labour Group accept that Corbyn will not win, and the only way forward for them, locally, is to “lose” Williamson?
Categories: Derby News Comment