Angela Smith's Labour councillor husband faces deselection

Angela Smith is an independent MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge after quitting Labour.
Angela Smith is an independent MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge after quitting Labour.
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Former Labour MP Angela Smith has accused the party's General Secretary Jennie Formby of orchestrating the removal of her husband as a Labour councillor, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.

Steve Wilson, who has been a Sheffield councillor since 2011 alongside his role as Ms Smith’s parliamentary assistant, could be forced out by activists over the next few weeks.

After initially being selected to defend his East Ecclesfield seat by the local party, senior figures stepped in to demand that the process was rerun following a complaint.

Mr Wilson will find out his fate at a crunch meeting next Wednesday when Labour members will decide whether or not to open up the selection process to other candidates.

His wife Ms Smith, who quit Labour this week, has alleged that the original selection was overturned by Ms Formby.

Ms Smith said: “It’s a very difficult situation that he is facing.

“He was selected by his ward on a one member shortlist and then he was ratified by the Sheffield party at the LCF (Local Campaign Forum)...

“The LCF oversaw the process, it was ratified and then the national party - Jennie Formby - invalidated it three weeks ago.

“It leaves him in the middle of a reselection.”

It is understood that Mr Wilson was told his selection would be reopened around three weeks ago, at the same time as Jeremy Corbyn and Ms Smith had a standoff in the Commons, after the Labour leader refused to take an intervention from her during a debate.

Although Labour sources rejected the suggestion that the two incidents were linked or that Ms Formby had any involvement in Mr Wilson's case.

One said: “He won the ballot by one vote but one member was incorrectly told that they couldn’t vote, so under the rules, the vote has to be rerun.

“This happened before Angela Smith’s resignation and has nothing to with it. It’s not a deselection vote, it’s a vote about whether or not to have a selection process.”

Some Labour party members in Sheffield have suggested that Momentum activists in the area are organising to ensure Mr Wilson is ousted over the coming weeks.

However, Sheffield Momentum Co-chair Jennifer Jones said: “We merely support the wishes of our members in Penistone and Stocksbridge, it’s their community and they know it best. We’re not about telling people what to do.

“What we are aware of from our members in that area is that the majority of members there would prefer a different candidate and we support their wishes.

“There will be a democratic vote for candidate selection and the members’ voices will be heard. We stand with them.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on internal party processes.”