LABOUR Coventry North West party members have today selected a 27-year-old London pharmacist as their general election candidate – after protests over a national party ‘stitch up’.
Taiwo Owatemi, from Greenwich, a young and relatively inexperienced health campaigner, is now strongly fancied to become the next MP in the Labour safe seat, replacing the retiring Geoffrey Robinson.
Many Coventry North West constituency party members had complained that Labour Party national and regional officials had hijacked local democracy by selecting a longlist which left off local councillors, ahead of a shortlist of two.
Regional trade unionist Des Arthur was the other name on the shortlist – a Communication Workers Union official who had represented Coventry Royal Mail sorting office workers.
But we have learned today’s ballot – after further concerns were raised about the process at the selection meeting – voted for Ms Owatemi by 65 votes to 60.
Some sources claimed that Mr Arthur was being lined up by Unite the union, regional officials and the left of the party under leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The party denies any wrongdoing under its rules for snap elections, and claimed longlist candidate selections for such high-demand seats had been produced on merit.
Earlier this week, Zarah Sultana, a 26-year-old West Midlands party official backed by the left, won the Coventry South candidacy.