A valuable precedent was established tonight at the hustings to select a Labour candidate to replace sitting MP Mark Fisher in Stoke Central. A motion to move to ballot was moved, despite a tense, threatening conversation earlier today from a West Midlands Labour Party regional officer and the CLP chair stating that this procedural motion was not in order at a prospective parliamentary candidate husting.
I am still waiting for further details of what transpired in the meantime that led to the motion being put, and the world not falling in. Michael Crick reported that it was lost by a margin of about 2:1. Should I worry about Michael's arithmetic, or my sources? They reported the motion was carried 41:29. I make that a rebellion lost more narrowly - by more like 4:3!
Bearing in mind there can be no debate about procedural motions, that suggests the level of concern about the shortlist was rather more widespread than the handful of activists currently being victimised by the Labour Party's national executive committee.
So I hope every member in every CLP still facing the need to select a candidate will look to Stoke for inspiration. If you suspect a fix, vote against the procedural motion to move to ballot. Forewarned is forearmed.
I speculated about what might happen next in a previous blog.