UPDATE(October 8): Another Labour Councillor who clearly does not support Jeremy Corbyn is Stephen Corrall (Braunstone ward), as he June this year he was have a Blairite daydream (on Twitter) about how Labour’s leadership problems could have been avoided if David Miliband had previously been elected instead of his brother (see tweet at the bottom of this article). Article should now read Leicester’s Tricky 18.
UPDATE (August 23): Cllr Teresa Aldred writes in the comments below that she did not actually add her name to her list of Owen Smith supporters that can be found on Labourlist. This means the articles title should be Leicester’s Tricky 18. On August 24 Lucy Chaplin tweeted for the first time that she was not supporting Owen Smith, so the article should be Leicester’s Tricky 17.
Leicester is home to many careerist, cuts-voting Labour councillors, most of whom advertise the fact that they want to be deselected by the membership of their party in the near future.
Nine Labour councillors have already provided public backing for the coup against Jeremy Corbyn, as has Sir Peter Soulsby; but now another five councillors have pledged their support for coup-leader in residence, Owen Smith – these being Teresa Aldred, Piara Singh Clair, Sarah Russell, John Thomas, and Paul Westley.
It should be recognised that three other Leicester councillors additionally pledged their support for Owen Smith (Ratilal Govind, Rory Palmer, and Vijay Riyait), but these three had already been counted among those signing the earlier public statement from Labour councillors who supported the coup.
But let’s not stop there. So, on top of these 15 Blairites committed to opposing Corbyn, we might add four other locals to this list, these being: Harshad Bhavsar, Lucy Chaplin, George Cole, and Vi Dempster — as just last year they all publicly backed Blairite Liz Kendall against Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party. This brings the total number of local Labour councillors looking to be deselected to 19.
On a more positive note, Ross Willmott has changed his mind about Corbyn by voting for him at his recent CLP nomination meeting (as reported in the Leicester Mercury). This is after he publicly backed Kendall during last year’s leadership contest. Willmott, however, has chosen not to publicly back Corbyn’s continued leadership of his party (as Patrick Kitterick has).
On the other hand, only one Leicester councillor has flip-flopped away from publicly backing Corbyn (last month) to Smith (this month). The confused individual in question is Teresa Aldred, a councillor of dubious political persuasion, who was recruited to the Labour Party just last year after her previous and little-talked about dalliances with the British National Party!
The future of a socialist Labour Party is presently at stake, and locally Momentum are doing important work in strengthening public support for Jeremy Corbyn’s policies and continued leadership of the party. Nevertheless, it does seem strange that the only Labour councillor that I know of who supports Momentum’s activism, Dr Susan Barton, still refuses to join Patrick Kitterick in publicly espousing her preference for Corbyn. Hopefully this will change soon.