Just because a general election has been called does not mean that my selections in the spotlight series is off air. Quite the contrary, we have now entered a period during which members' rights in selecting parliamentary candidates are at greatest risk of abuse by powerful individuals among the Labour Party leadership.
Particularly puzzling is an inordinate delay in the designation of Nottingham East vacated by John Heppel two weeks ago. My sources tell me that the Special Selections Panel was told by Party staff that the CLP had not been consulted. That is most unfortunate, as the sitting Labour MP's intentions were discussed by members at the CLP's AGM two weeks ago and a view formed as to how the vacancy for a prospective parliamentary candidate should be filled.
To reinforce the message for an OPEN selection with local candidates a petition to the NEC has been signed by (at the last count notified to me) nearly 200 members.
The Special Selections Panel is due to decide today whether it should be open or an all womens' shortlist.
My worry and that of members in Nottingham East is that there will be enormous pressure for candidates to be imposed. That concern has only been heightened by unsubstantiated rumours of yet more sitting Labour MPs making the redundancy run and pocketing up to £65K stepping down. I only hope that's all completely untrue, otherwise I fear I could be very busy staying off message, but defending members' rights, rather than out on the doorstep in marginal seats.