Virendra Sharma has become the latest Labour MP to be ‘triggered’ by party members, after three branches in Ealing Southall Labour voted against automatic reselection of their sitting representative and instead for holding a full selection contest.
Last month, two branches in the local constituency party – Elthorne and Southall Broadway – voted heavily in favour of triggering Sharma. On Tuesday evening, the third branch to vote – Norwood Green, where the MP himself lives – chose the same route, by 50 votes to 40, which means the threshold for triggering has been reached.
The first two votes were initially declared “null and void” by Labour’s London regional office after complaints about the process were received. But the results were ultimately reinstated.
Sharma will automatically be included in the shortlist of the ensuing selection process. It is thought that the chair of the local party, Onkar Sahota, is vying to replace the sitting MP as Labour’s Ealing Southall candidate at the next election.
Ealing Southall Labour is regarded as having complex politics, and the local party is in special measures. One local source told LabourList it “shouldn’t be allowed to run a bath”, though another said this view was “denigratory and years out of date”.
On the trigger result, Dr Sahota commented: “All branch meetings have been conducted in a courteous and comradely manner, in full accordance with the procedural rules laid out by London region and our NEC representative.
“I am confident that the decision reflects the wishes of the many diverse sections of Ealing Southall CLP to hold a full and democratic selection process for the next Labour candidate for Ealing Southall – in which Mr Sharma as well as other candidates wishing to represent our community may take part.”