Labour members in Coventry North West defied expectations by delivering a surprise result on Saturday when they selected a Londoner as their parliamentary candidate.
The local party was presented with a shortlist of two members – a choice between Taiwo Owatemi, a London pharmacist, and Des Arthur, a CWU rep and former postal worker from Coventry.
The shortlist was supposed to have been drawn up by a mixed panel of national, regional and local executive representatives. But the local party chair withdrew from the shortlisting meeting, describing it as an “unclean process”.
The plan of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) “hilariously backfired”, one member commented. It is thought locally that the ruling body had shortlisted Owatemi expecting the party not to consider a non-local.
The longlist, which was produced by a panel of Labour NEC members, initially caused controversy among local members and retiring incumbent Geoffrey Robinson MP submitted a formal complaint.