29 July 2007

Why your mouth can get you into trouble

Remember Anne Moffat? She's got into a spot of local difficulty. The Sunday Herald reports that three Labour Party branches in East Lothian voted against her re-selection, while two voted in favour. One branch held a vote which ended in a tie. Even the local Fabian group voted against her, but it was the Unions (she is their creature, after all) who saved her.

However, the row is only just beginning: losing in three branches shows that she has lost the support of local activists, which isn't surprising when you consider the negative publicity she's generated since 2001. Her £39,744 claim for travel expenses raised eyebrows in 2003, her private life has had people talking, and, yes, the Alex Salmond comment didn't go down well. In any case, she flounced out of a meeting on Thursday after reading a statement, and now the local party Executive wants her to submit to an "open vote" of members.

She has to submit, and it would be in Labour's interest for her to be defeated. Either she goes, or a raft of activists would no doubt go, and Labour are not in an ideal position in this neck of the woods. They lost control of East Lothian Council (it's now run by an SNP/LibDem Coalition) and Musselburgh now has Kenny MacAskill, the SNP's Justice Secretary as its local MSP. To lose activists over this would make things worse.

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