Roger Godsiff, the Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green who recently sided with protesters opposing LGBT-inclusive education in primary schools, has reached the threshold for being ‘triggered’ and now faces a full selection process.
Two branches out of four in the local party in Birmingham Hall Green have voted in the trigger ballot, and both overwhelmingly opted for an open selection rather than automatically reselecting the sitting MP as their next parliamentary candidate.
The first branch – Moseley And Kings Heath – voted by 86 votes to six in favour of a full selection, and the second – Hall Green, which met tonight – voted by 37 to 11 in favour of a full selection.
Labour conference last year approved a rule change whereby a full selection takes place if at least one third of party branches or local affiliates vote for one. This replaced a system that set the threshold higher, at more than 50%.
If Godsiff still wishes to seek reselection, he will be automatically placed on the shortlist in the ensuing process. He has not yet commented on the decision taken by his local party.
Update, October 7th: Godsiff has issued the following statement: “Approximately 180 members – out a total membership in the Hall Green Constituency of over 1,250 – have voted to have an open selection. The full membership will now have a choice and I confirm I will be a candidate in the reselection.”
The MP for Birmingham Hall Green has become the third to be ‘triggered’, following votes in the constituency parties of Diana Johnson in Hull and Margaret Hodge in Barking – both of whom intend to fight for reselection.
Parliamentary selections are currently suspended, while trigger ballots continue. In the circumstances that a snap election is called, the next steps for seats with triggered Labour MPs are unclear – and have not yet been clarified by the party.
In 2011, Godsiff was declared by The Guardian to be Britain’s “laziest MP” on the basis that his participation rate in parliament showed him to be absent from 88% of votes.
He opposed marriage equality in 2013 and earlier this year he agreed with protests in Birmingham that opposed the introduction of LGBT-inclusive education in primary schools, particularly one located in his constituency.
Godsiff also defied the Labour whip to vote against key Brexit amendments tabled by Dominic Grieve and Yvette Cooper in January 2019. The proposals would have enacted ‘indicative votes’ and called for an Article 50 extension respectively.
The MP backed the Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum, but Birmingham Hall Green voted by a large margin – 66.4% – to Remain. He abstained from the vote in parliament to trigger Article 50.