THE stuff about some curious developments behind the scenes in Camden’s Labour group soon, really soon…. but first we must rewind to Monday night when the joke at the Town Hall was something along the lines of: Tulip Siddiq must be in possession of compromising photos of somebody at the Evening Standard. For some of the Hampstead and Kilburn MP’s old council colleagues at Judd Street could be found marvelling at her ability to score yet another soapy profile feature in London’s nightly paper; just the fourth time the captive commuters on the way home have seen her smiling face beam out of a double page spread in less than a year. By any standard, that’s not a bad scorecard from a newspaper which regularly advises its readers to vote Conservative.
The latest instalment of this cute love-in, however, could not be signed off with at least prodding at why she had used her parliamentary nomination to support Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest when she was actually an Andy Burnham supporter; a fact which the Tories have already publicly promised to attack her on in the future, on the basis that they think Corbyn is seen as sort of a allergic demon by the floatier sections of her electorate.
In the past, she has always explained her decision as a move to ‘broaden the debate’, which seemed to be a little more understanding in hindsight after seeing the campaign performance of those who Corbyn defeated. Two of the three seemed scared to say anything of any interest during the contest, and yet now you see Yvette Cooper everywhere, being far more interesting than she ever was during her application to lead the party.
To the Standard this week, Tulip however had a new excuse/reason said: “I nominated him because my constituency nominated him, and I owe everything to them. And to broaden the debate. Which it did.”
The constituency? Flip back through these pages and you’ll find that Hampstead and Kilburn members actually nominated Cooper to be leader, albeit narrowly. Asked about this awkward inconsistency, Team Tulip say that there had been confusion with her new BFs at the Standard and what she meant was that the constituency chairman and his deputies had been supporters of Corbyn.
This explanation appeared in the New Journal’s Peeps column on Thursday, sparking an immediate surprise from local members who were puzzled further at the idea that chairman Geoff Berridge is a signed up Corbynista.
I don’t know whether he did or he didn’t, but her answers are clearly under scrutiny even by some of her admirers. Why does all this matter, one line in a long interview? The opposition want to link Tulip as closely as they can with the Labour leader, for they feel he is an immediate vote-loser in the future. If that is to be the case, she will be asked again and again by supporters and opponents (and a few journalists) about her role in the Corbyn Summer just gone.