EXCLUSIVE : The runners and riders in the race to be the next MP for Birkenhead

red silks

Red silks all the way in a two horse race?

16th February 2019 could be the most the most significant date in Birkenhead’s  political history in the last 40 years. Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) have started the process of finding a replacement for Frank Field – the man who has been the town’s MP since 1979 – and this Saturday will see a special meeting take place where a Selection Committee will vote on who will be the parliamentary candidate at the next General Election.

So let’s have a look at who is in the running for £77k (plus expenses) prize that comes with being first past the post:
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Whilst we understand that Frank Field is a non-runner following his withdrawal of the Labour whip and can no longer be considered a candidate we just hope that someone has checked the rule book when it comes to running for selection-  just in case there’s a Steward’s Enquiry when the result is announced. We say this as a journalist at New Statesman recently wrote this :

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Therefore assuming that Field is out of the race who are jockeying for position to be riding high as the Labour candidate in one of the safest seats in the UK ?

Well first off in stall 1 and running in the ‘Maomentum ‘ colours is Tony ‘Tight Fit’ Norbury, local councillor for Prenton and scion of the so-called Wirral ‘hard left’. He has a favourite’s chance due to his ‘comrade’ John Maher and that latter’s control of the Birkenhead CLP and consequently the make up of the  Selection Committee.  Under these circumstances Norbury would appear to be the front runner…

Norbury scarf

However in stall 2 running Norbury close will be Mick Whitley in the Unite colours . We recently introduced you to him here and reported

Mr Whitley, formerly a long-standing convener at the Vauxhall car plant in nearby Ellesmere Port, was born in the area and is the former north-west regional secretary of the Unite union.

He has gained the support of Momentum, which holds a powerful presence in north-west England, while left-wing MPs such as John McDonnell, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Dan Carden have voiced their support.

The local branches of Unite, FBU, RMT, BFAWU and Aslef have also formally endorsed Mr Whitley’s candidacy.

Thus far ,despite living in Wirral (but not in Birkenhead?), Whitley has, up until now, not had a local political (or media) profile. However now that Unite’s Regional Political Officer,Alison Spencer Scragg, is running his campaign (and pulling the reins) Whitley has taken a sudden interest in turning up at food banks,demos and picket lines and making sure he’s seen to be doing so on his Twitter account which was only set up in November 2018…

mick 'n jez

Jez ‘n’ Mick

Finally, in stall 3 we have the token filly in the race. Theresa ‘I’m not Tony or Mick’  Griffin is running in the colours of  the EU flag/Unison/GMB. The clock is ticking on MEP Griffin as she looks like being out of a job by the end of next month unless Brexit is halted or delayed. Fresh from her defeat in the selection in Walton in 2017 we predict Theresa will again aim to be the token woman on the shortlist and hope that following her defeat she may make it third time lucky and actually win in Liverpool Riverside when their trigger ballot happens and current Labour incumbent Louise Ellman is ousted.  Consequently Griffin’s half-hearted attempt to become the next MP for Birkenhead has thus far amounted to nothing more than taking a sudden interest in Birkenhead’s flyovers :

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Thus a Labour insider sums up the current selection process situation for us as follows :

There will also be several local also rans who will no doubt throw their caps into the ring but in truth the members of Birkenhead CLP will have a choice between Tony Norbury or Mick Whitley, which will be akin to them being asked if they would like to be stabbed or burned to death.  Ah thank God for a new and kinder politics……

 

Birkenhead MP’s Brexit Bitchfest Backfires

Birkenhead MP Frank Field ,  having moved an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal ) Bill earlier this week must be grateful that the local TV media chose a clip of Wirral South MP Alison McGovern’s contribution to the House of Commons Brexit debate for their news bulletin rather than his latest waspish display of self-aggrandizing disrespect for others. Therefore we’d particularly like to thank Old Queen TV  for posting the above footage.

Field’s innocuous amendment read : ” The UK ceases to belong to the European Union on 30 March 2019″ and  we can say one thing about Frankenfield and that he united the House during the debate  – united that is in their distaste of his sly jibes.

The most spectacular putdown was of fellow Labour MP Hilary Benn which drew gasps from benches on both sides of the House. Sitting behind Frankenfield David Lammy looks simply aghast……and who wouldn’t be as Field snipes at Benn : ” I’ve always bought my houses, I’ve never inherited them……”  . On being corrected by Benn he apologised and withdrew the comment. However the snooty, sarky tone of his statement , part Lady Bracknell/part Lily Savage, continued unabated.  

The thing is with Frankenfield is that locally he is so used to saying what he likes to who he likes – and being gifted a platform to do it – that it comes as a bit of a surprise when someone dares to challenge him on the facts.

However there were several other comments Frankenfield made during his speech which led to us sit here scratching our heads with our mouths agape. The full transcript of the debate can read here

 

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We’re confused as to what Frankenfield is trying to say in these statements . However it  should be noted that overall 51.7% of the voters of Wirral voted to remain in the  EU Referendum , whilst  his own constituency  voted 51.7% to leave .