Diana Johnson has become the first Labour MP in this round of trigger ballots to be facing a full selection process, after local members in three branches of Kingston upon Hull North Constituency Labour Party voted for one.
Commenting on the result, Johnson said: “I am disappointed to have been triggered for an open selection by a small number of members, especially when overall the majority of Hull North Constituency Labour Party members have so far voted to reselect me. I am currently considering a procedural challenge to the process.
“However, I stand on my record and will continue doing what I have done every day since May 5th 2005, when I was first elected, representing the people of Hull North to the very best of my ability – and working to get a Labour government elected. It’s business as usual as far as I am concerned.”
The sitting MP is reportedly considering a challenge based “on quorum issues”. Normally, branch votes are subject to a quorum – minimum turnout – but this is not the case for trigger ballots concerning parliamentary candidates.
One ward that voted against Johnson’s automatic reselection had a turnout of just two Labour members, both of whom voted in favour of a full selection. Two wards that voted to fast-track Johnson’s reselection had turnouts of just three members.
— Gabriel Pogrund (@Gabriel_Pogrund) September 7, 2019
The ensuing full selection contest in Kingston upon Hull North will see members choose their candidate from an all-women shortlist, as it has been ruled that all ‘triggered’ female Labour MPs are set to be subject to AWS. Johnson will automatically be shortlisted as a candidate in that race, and has a good chance of going on to be reselected as Labour’s candidate in the seat.
Labour’s trigger ballot system was changed at its last annual party conference. The threshold for triggering a full selection, which has been lowered, used to be more than 50% of branches. The rulebook now states: “If either one third or more of party branches, or one third or more of affiliated branches, indicate that they wish a selection to take place, a selection shall proceed.”
A number of Corbynsceptic Labour MPs complained about the trigger ballot result:
Utterly absurd decision. @DianaJohnsonMP is a hard-working, non-factional MP who was backbencher of year (!) and I have been proud to work with on issues like #ContaminatedBlood – let’s anul this decision and all focus on getting #LiarJohnson out – not #DianaJohnson !!!
— Stephen Doughty MP / AS (@SDoughtyMP) September 7, 2019
Diana Johnson is a brilliant MP & tireless campaigner who has now been triggered by a Hard Left minority. With an election looming this is an entirely cynical move. The selection process is deeply flawed & now a needless distraction from the very real crisis this country faces. https://t.co/pnl9lfT32a
— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) September 7, 2019
Diana Johnson is an outstanding MP, an example to everyone, standing up for her constituents, skilfully campaigning on national issues
Triggering her for full selection is the opposite of helping to defeat #LiarJohnson. why would anyone think this helps us to win a Labour govt. https://t.co/Owqdt3A0Cl
— Thangam Debbonaire (@ThangamMP) September 7, 2019
Other Labour MPs simply expressed support and solidarity, while shadow minister Jonathan Reynolds vowed to campaign for his colleague in the selection process:
Whether it’s the contaminated blood outrage or baby ashes campaign (amongst other things) Diana Johnson has never stopped fighting for her constituents or those affected in the country.
She is truly outstanding. Sorry minority of members in her backyard can’t see that. https://t.co/u1juJcA90t
— Melanie Onn MP (@OnnMel) September 7, 2019
You are one of the best and most diligent MPs from any Party in the Commons – you deserved the award you were given for the work you have done for victims of the blood transfusion scandal – that is compassionate socialism in action
— Kevin Brennan MP (@KevinBrennanMP) September 7, 2019
There are many good things I could say about @DianaJohnsonMP, but her leadership of the contaminated blood campaign has made a huge difference to the lives of some of my constituents. If she is up for selection I’ll campaign for her
— Jonathan Reynolds (@jreynoldsMP) September 7, 2019