HOW’S that uniting behind the leader line working out in Liverpool? Well, like a scratched record, a call for collaboration is on repeat if you ask for an official line from any of the Owen Smith supporters gathered here at conference – Tulip, Keir, Sarah and so on – but London Assembly member Tom Copley, a former council candidate in Camden, does not seem ready to sign up for that.
He’s been repeatedly kicking the Momentum nest since Jeremy Corbyn was announced as the winner of the second Labour leadership contest on Saturday with a series of tweets urging people to stay in the party and fight for something different. His big click switcharoo on Twitter read: ‘It would seem churlish not to congratulate the winner of #LabourLeadership contest but tbh I don’t much feel like congratulating Theresa May’. He snapped 500 retweets for that one. Almost viral.
His tweets got the inevitable response with a few less-than-politely phrased suggestions that he should leave the party and so on. He could be said, however, to simply be sticking to his guns, having already publicly said he would not follow others and go down the unite behind the leader route should Corbyn win again.
In a tweet spat with his old sparring partner, Doug Beattie, a Corbynite Labour councillor in Kilburn, Copley said last week: “If JC is re-elected I intend to show him the same loyalty he showed Foot, Kinnock, Smith, Blair, Brown, Miliband. Seems fair.’ Beattie replied: ‘Pls stop this Tom, it’s only helping the Tories. I have no doubt from the 24th on you’ll be right behind whomsoever elected?’
TOM: ‘Uniting behind the worst leader we’ve ever had will lead to electoral oblivion’
DOUG: ‘Never mind, I doubt we will agree for now, though I know you are big enough to get on board after conference. Best wishes.’