Hull North MP Diana Johnson sees off Momentum-backed candidate

Hull North MP Diana Johnson
Hull North MP Diana Johnson
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North Hull MP Diana Johnson emerged triumphant on Friday night after a controversial selection battle against a Momentum-backed candidate.

The selection was the first to be triggered under Labour’s new rules which mean just a third of local branches needed to vote to deselect a candidate for it to happen.

Ms Johnson, Backbencher of the Year in 2018, had faced losing the seat she has held for 14 years after the threshold for a selection contest was triggered by just 16 people across three wards.

She said she was delighted to win by 292 votes to 101.

“I did very well,” she said. “I always knew Hull North members would support me.”

She has campaigned hard in recent weeks and had the support of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell as well as former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who worked with her for 12 years as an MP.

Mr McDonnell said they needed “strong MPs like Diana in a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government”.

Glenn Wilkinson, a victim of the contaminated blood scandal, also credited her “relentless campaigning” as the “catalyst that secured a UK wide inquiry”.

Her rival, councillor Aneesa Akbar was elected to Momentum’s highest body, the National Co-ordinating Group, last year.

The councillor, who was elected to represent Hull’s Central ward last year, also had the support of a number of Labour councillors, including leader Steve Brady.

The announcement was made following a meeting held behind closed doors at Hull’s Guildhall.

Ms Johnson is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood and has campaigned on the contaminated blood scandal.

Supporters included former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who worked with her for 12 years as MP, said he saw first-hand “how she fought for Hull”.

In a video message as part of her reselection campaign he said: “She worked with me to bring Siemens into the city and to bring the supply chain..Not a week passes when Diana isn’t raising something in the House of Commons to do with her constituents in Hull.”

It came after a change of rules in September which meant only a third of local branches needed to vote to deselect a candidate for it to happen.

Previously more than half of local Labour branches would need to vote against an MP to deselect them.