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Manchester Momentum urges left to attend meeting to reject Blairites's ‘dirty machinations’

MANCHESTER Labour members have urged leftwingers to attend a meeting tomorrow to increase local party democracy and reject the “sinister and dirty machinations” of Blairites.

Momentum members in Manchester Central Constituency Labour Party (CLP) are encouraging people to attend a meeting at the East Manchester Academy on Grey Mare Lane tomorrow.

The meeting will vote on whether the CLP should hold all-member meetings, rather than the current delegate-based structure that was imposed after Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership victory in 2015.

The move to a delegate structure was seen by local leftwingers as a way for the party’s Blairite wing to hold on to power against the wave of new members.

The CLP is the seat of Lucy Powell, a noted opponent of Mr Corbyn in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

The vote comes after a number of incidents which local insiders have told the Star are “sinister.”

In 2017, the CLP was revealed to have misled members about how many delegates it was allowed to send to the party’s annual conference in Brighton, at a time when key party policy battles were being closely fought.

It is understood that one of Ms Powell’s key internal allies was former Socialist Health Association (SHA) director Martin Rathfelder, who was sacked in summer 2018 for “gross misconduct and bringing SHA into disrepute.”

As an affiliated Labour society, SHA has delegate entitlements in that CLP. Emails shown to the Star and Skwawkbox show he had admitted to interfering in local Labour internal elections.

This led to SHA nationally suspending its Greater Manchester branch, with national officers claiming that “misuse of SHA membership” and influencing “factional political delegation to Labour Party structures” were the reasons.

Mr Rathfelder did not dispute the allegations and was expelled by the organisation.

A Manchester Momentum statement said: “Delegate structures were imposed on the constituency with little debate and no discussion in branches shortly after the second leadership contest, when Corbyn increased his majority as leader of the Labour Party.

“The structure is widely seen by local activists as a means to disenfranchise the members from participation in their CLP.”

An insider told the Star: “Clearly, sinister and dirty machinations are going on here.

“Lucy is clearly scared of democracy, and that’s not a good situation.”

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