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Hammer of the Left?

Happy dissolution day! All business in the House has come to an end and the election is off

to its official start (though of course, we know it’s been going on for much longer than that).

Welcome to the first of CalComms election blogs, bringing you our take on the election.

This week, we discuss Starmer’s Stalinist Suppression.

Diane Abbott’s future as a Labour MP has been hanging in the balance for the last year, but

the election has precipitated a purge of the hard left as the Labour Leader has banned

several serving and prospective MPs from the hard left from standing, using the opportunity

to reshape the party in his image.

In addition to Abbott (who has told the BBC that she has been barred from standing, a claim

which has been denied by Starmer), Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Corbynite

candidate Faiza Shaheen have been banned from running. When asked, the Labour

leadership have pointed to behavioural complaints which have, some may say suspiciously,

come out in recent days.

The timing of the election, and these suspensions, have given the Labour leadership the

opportunity to parachute-in some preferred candidates. These include Labour First and

Labour to Win activist Luke Akehurst, also a member of Labour’s national executive

committee and a strong supporter of the Starmer project, who will be standing in North

Durham. Long-term Labour watchers will be well aware of Akehurst’s activities as a standard

bearer for the non-Blairite right.

However, Angela Rayner and Wes Streeting have both expressed ‘uneasiness’ at the

treatment of Diane Abbott, and Rayner has expressed support for Abbott both on ITV and

SKY News, describing the Hackney MP as a ‘trailblazer’ and hinting at divisions at the top of

the party:

“I don’t see any reason why Diane Abbott can’t stand as a Labour MP going forward. I am

saying that as the deputy leader of the Labour Party”.

“[Diane Abbott]'s been an inspiration to many people who see that actually she has been a

trailblazer. Now people from her background and people who look like her have a place in

our politics. And she's been able to demonstrate that. You can see the difference on our


Starmer is keen to show that he can keep the Left in check while attempting to win over

centrist and soft-right voters across party lines. However, this strategy could backfire, leading

to potential blowback from the left-wingers within and outside the Party. A full-blown factional

war at this point could have the opposite effect - alienating the centrists and therefore

undermining the Leader's plans. Angela Rayner’s independent mandate as the directly-

elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party could also be a threat if she chooses a different

position to Keir Starmer.

Labour’s lead over the Conservatives is still a matter of debate, with JL Partners showing a

lead of 12 points, and YouGov showing an increased lead of 27. As anyone following the

Conservatives 2017 election can tell you, a lead of 12 points can start to go south very

quickly, especially when threats come from both the right and the left.

Labour will need to close this story down quickly if they want to avoid gifting any votes to the


This is still an emerging story, for more insight, sign up to our bulletin for up to date analysis.

Email to sign up.

By Matthew Detzler

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