Julie Cooper was Labour’s second choice.
Now we know! No wonder Julie Cooper was so desperate to ensure she had an all-women shortlist for her selection as Labour’s candidate, despite opposing one in 2010 saying it “was being seen as a weakness in the town”.
In an attempt to get Alastair Campbell to run, Ed Milliband was offering to make Burnley an open selection. And Alastair Campbell himself has said “every time I go to Burnley matches I had Labour people asking me to run”. That hardly speaks volumes for the confidence local Labour figures have in Julie Cooper!
It also poses serious questions about the role the Unite union – no friend of Blairites like Mr Campbell – played in behind-the-scenes politicking. Unite was pledging “furious under the water activity” in support of its candidates like Mrs Cooper. What role did it play in fixing a women-only selection for their pre-vetted candidate. Before the selection I asked Labour Party HQ to investigate the situation and never got a reply. Perhaps now is the time for the Labour Party to properly address those issues.
Liberal Democrat agent
2010 General Election