Pressure continued to mount on Keir Starmer and the Labour Party leadership today over its decision to bar North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll from standing as its candidate for Mayor of the enlarged North East Combined Authority.
Latest to express concern was the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which described the decision as “an absolute disgrace.”
In a statement posted on social media, the FBU’s national and North East regional leaders said:
“The move, amongst a long list of anti-democratic manoeuvres by the Labour Party leadership, rides roughshod over Keir Starmer’s previous commitments to democracy in the party…
“The FBU calls for the decision to be reversed and at minimum for Jamie Drisoll to be allowed to appeal to a panel of the NEC [national executive committee] to hear his case.”
The call for a right of appeal for Driscoll by the FBU follows that of his fellow mayors Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester) and Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region).
Meanwhile, Simon Jenkins, a columnist in The Guardian, a paper much read by Labour supporters, has also questioned Driscoll’s exclusion and linked it to the similar treatment of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Following the same line of argument as this author in North East Bylines two days ago, he writes:
“Whatever the perceived misdeeds of these two politicians [Driscoll and Corbyn], surely these are matters for their respective communities to decide on.”