The Fire Brigades Union is set to release a series of videos criticising Rebecca Long-Bailey’s Labour leadership rivals – starting with one that highlights the participation of Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy in the 2016 ‘coup’.
LabourList can reveal that the party-affiliated, left-wing FBU, which nominated Long-Bailey for the leadership and Richard Burgon for the vacant deputy post, has made three ads in support of their favoured contender.
The first, set to be released tonight, will focus on the leadership challenge against Jeremy Corbyn in 2016 that was precipitated by mass frontbench resignations. Long-Bailey stepped up to become a shadow cabinet member at the time.
“We’ve got a carefully coordinated coup planned to create the most damage. What an utter disgrace these people are,” general secretary Matt Wrack is heard saying in the FBU video, which shows a speech of his at a 2016 pro-Corbyn rally.
Displaying the resignation letters of Starmer and Nandy, Wrack asserts: “There are questions that both Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy have to answer. They both participated in that attempt to force Corbyn from office and thereby undermine the decision that Labour Party members took.”
The FBU leader has been critical of Starmer over recent days. He wrote an article for Tribune on Sunday that accused the frontrunner of being “prepared to row back” on Labour’s pledge to repeal all anti-trade union laws.
Describing Starmer’s apparent position as “alarming” in contrast to that of Long-Bailey – who has vowed to repeal laws untouched by New Labour as well as the Trade Union Act 2016 – Wrack wrote that “Labour must build on, not step back from, a worker-led agenda”.
The two videos set to follow will focus on the green industrial revolution and open selections. Both the FBU and Long-Bailey have been strong proponents of the two policies, which are central to the Salford MP’s leadership campaign.
In January, the executive council of the FBU “resoundingly” voted in favour of endorsing Long-Bailey for the leadership. Wrack’s statement cited her work on Labour’s 2030 decarbonisation target in particular.
On Sunday night, the eve of ballots starting to drop, Starmer released a video focussed on party unity and Labour’s past achievements in government, from the Equality Act and Sure Start centres to the Good Friday Agreement.
Earlier in the day, Nandy appeared on Sophy Ridge’s Sky News programme, where she talked about the media, shared ideas about the future of the BBC, and disagreed with parts of the trans rights pledge card.
Update – FBU’s first video on the 2016 leadership challenge has been released:
The 2016 coup was a carefully coordinated attack on the democratic decision of Labour Party members – and it’s right to look at the record of Labour Leadership contenders at the time#RLB4Leader pic.twitter.com/3riVvaLU1y
— Fire Brigades Union (@fbunational) February 23, 2020