IMPATIENCE appears to be building in the Labour ranks over the relaxed timetable in the search to find a parliamentary candidate to follow Frank Dobson in Holborn and St Pancras, with faraway dates in October and November being talked about for a finish to the selection contest the. Sure enough, it’s a long haul for members who probably don’t want to endure weeks and weeks, and weeks, of people being suspiciously nice to them. It’s an expensive affair for the potential candidates too, in time and money. And of course, the longer it goes on, the more fractious everybody might just get, the worse the distraction becomes, and the longer any pinch marks may take to heal.
So, when regional director Alan Olive came to speak to the constituency party tonight, to explain how it would all pan out, a motion was brought and carried demanding that the process is begun immediately. It was a little stand, but not much more – because it is the National Executive Committee which holds the power over the timetable, and it has shown little interest in speeding this one through. We will see if Spicy takes anything other than the fact the local group does not want an all women’s shortlist enforced away from the meeting and the position changes.
More than one insider, however, was suggesting those most disappointed at the delays would be people in the Sir Keir Starmer camp. He was out of the blocks quickly and the worry for some of his aides is that this sprinter’s start could be lost by the debate of a long contest. Ideally, they’d want a vote tomorrow – did you see the glowing, dare we say gushing, write-up in the Evening Standard this week? – yet officially, despite a list of interested people out there and known, the contest hasn’t officially commenced.