THE Coventry Observer can today reveal a leaked email which appeared to reveal Geoffrey Robinson MP’s intentions to belatedly stand down before the general election in favour of Greg Beales, an aide of Ed Miliband.
We exclusively revealed yesterday the 76-year-old former minister Mr Robinson’s intentions to stand down.
Later in the day, he confirmed to some local party members that he was resigning at the eleventh hour, just six weeks before the general election.
But Mr Robinson remained silent today and the West Midlands Labour party insisted the story remained “speculation”.
There are growing unconfirmed rumours that the party machine may force Mr Robinson to stand after all following a storm of protest locally.
Some Coventry North West Labour party members and colleagues loyal to Mr Robinson felt betrayed.
They believed the extremely late decision was part of a “stitch-up” which would result in a Westminster replacement parachuted in to the constituency, denying the local party the opportunity to select its own candidate from its own shortlist.
Among the complainants was Coventry city Labour councillor Jayne Innes, who took to Twitter yesterday to attack the MP she used to work for over his decision.
She told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire this morning that Mr Robinson was well respected locally but his legacy would be tainted by his decision to stand down so late.
She alleged Mr Robinson must have had private thoughts for some time, despite insisting he would stand for his tenth election in the constituency.
We can reveal today a leaked email that has been passed around local Labour party members sent to Mr Robinson by Mr Beales, who is Labour’s director of strategy and planning, an advisor to Ed Miliband and as we revealed yesterday is a former aide of ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
It appears to reveal a planned emergency timescale for Mr Robinson to help introduce Mr Beales to key members of the Coventry North West constituency.
It states: “.. I was wondering if there was an opportunity for us to catch up today or tomorrow to plan the weekend a bit. I thought it might be helpful to go through when I was thinking I might meet the core group we talked about on Tuesday.
“One other thing some of my friends who are MPs have also suggested is that it might be possible for you to go through the membership list with me and give me some indication of who the people are who are most likely to come to the Saturday hustings.
“This would then allow me to prioritize getting in to see them on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Obviously I want to meet as many of the local party as possible, but the initial focus should be those who we know are going to come to vote on Saturday.”
The local party fears that if Mr Robinson goes through with his decision yesterday, the national party may impose an emergency shortlist of two with Mr Beales as Mr Robinson’s preferred candidate.
The constituency party this morning called an emergency meeting to be held tomorrow to draw up its own long list of candidates, in potential defiance of national party intentions.
More to come.