A STORY breaking on the New Journal‘s website on Saturday evening, the Labour team in Hampstead and Kilburn say they are ready to call in the police and election officials following an anonymous doorstep delivery clearly aimed at undermining Tulip Siddiq’s campaign. Somebody, and it’s not clear who yet, printed off their own copies of last week’s Mail On Sunday story, which re-heated the old tale of Tulip meeting Vladimir Putin, and pushed them through doors in Belsize Park.
Without a party imprint on the leaflet, it looks, on the face of it, that election laws may have been broken. It is for the officials and now possibly the police to decide what the next step should be. Labour are calling ‘dirty tricks’ as the hunt for the mystery postman begins.
THE £100,000 BATTLEGROUND
FIGURES compiled by the Bureau Of Investigative Journalism show that nearly £100,000 has been donated to the individual candidate campaigns in Hampstead and Kilburn. Their research says that since 2010, Conservative Simon Marcus has received £56,500, while Labour’s Tulip Siddiq collected £37,500. The same researchers report that Maajid Nawaz, for the Lib Dems, has not received a penny in donations, which sounds a bit odd but it’s up there on the BIJ’s website.
THE ALTERNATIVE SOCIALISTS CHOICE
SIR Keir Starmer may not have even been elected as an MP yet, but Ladbrokes say they have already been taking money on him being the next leader of the Labour Party. In charting his switch to politics and a potential rise through the ranks – he’ll obviously have to outmanoeuvre the Sunday Times’ Prime Minister-in-waiting Tulip Siddiq along the way, if he wants to be leader – it will be interesting to see how he deals with the least sympathetic national newspapers. He is accused by Kelvin Mackenzie in The Sun today of being a “disgraceful brown-noser”. This will no doubt be met in Holborn and St Pancras with an attitude that such a column is just Kelvin being Kelvin. This, in fact, seems to be the response every time the paper says that his parliamentary selection was secured on dubious grounds in the first place, a whistle to the scheduling of the local contest. Yesterday, The Sun said Sir Keir’s campaign was now overshadowed by his role in bringing charges against journalists who are now seeing the cases thrown out at court. “He is already shrouded in controversy after Labour selection rules were bent so he could be picked to fight the seat,” the paper reported, again. By making no comment to the paper, he risks it being repeated again and again, in the end, as absolute fact. The more time it is printed unchallenged, the more it will become embedded in gossipy local folklore.
The Daily Mail are also on the knight’s case too, as controversial historic legal cases bounce around the papers. Whether Sir Keir is bothered or not may depend on how he views the word ‘socialist’, but not for the first time the DM reminded its readers over the weekend of how he had worked on a magazine called Socialist Alternatives while at university. Here was another chance to reference the often-quoted radio interview to the BBC’s Martha Kearney while he was still Director of Public Prosecutions, in which she effectively asked him how he could hold a sensitive post like chief prosecutor with an apparent political bent. Of the magazine, he replied: “These are things of 25, 30 years ago now. They’re not relevant to the work I do now. I hope that since I’ve been in office I’ve made it absolutely clear that every single decision is made absolutely independently.”