Media reports in London suggest that Labour’s hyper-active housing spokesman on the Greater London Assembly may be under threat from Jeremy Corbyn supporters in the Momentum movement.
Tom Copley has been an active opponent of government housing policies and has been particularly outspoken on dangers posed by out-of-control Airbnb and other short-term letting in the capital; he has also called for greater regulations on the activities of landlords and letting agents across London.
However, news service BuzzFeed says a new process of selecting candidates for the GLA, introduced by Corbyn supporters and Momentum members, could see Copley lose his seat if he is placed below the Momentum slate of candidates.
Copley has been a critic of Corbyn’s in the past, and is Labour’s only openly gay assembly member in London.
According to BuzzFeed Momentum has defended the rule change that puts Copley at risk, saying the party has done away with “New Labour stitch-ups” and that the new process is more “open and fair”.
From now on sitting Labour assembly makers must compete for the chance to be on the ballot when Londoners vote to elect their representatives in 2020, instead of being included automatically.
Under the voting system for the GLA, assembly members represent the whole of London rather than a specific geographic area within the capital, and candidates are ranked by each party, which receives a certain number of places depending on its vote share.
“Should Momentum, which has large numbers of members in London, encourage its members to vote for four specific candidates, for example in an all-member email, it is likely that those candidates would place above others who are not on the slate” explains BuzzFeed.
Even a critic of Copley - Conservative London Assembly member Shaun Bailey, who is also the Tory candidate for the next London Mayor election - says on Twitter: “I might not agree with Tom Copley all that often but the man works his socks off in the Assembly. It would be really unfair to lose him to a Momentum stitch-up.”