Davies supporters to seek review of ban

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Indy Politics
Labour was last night bracing itself for a fresh round of protests from supporters of Liz Davies, who will attempt to get her banning as parliamentary candidate for Leeds North East sent back to the national executive, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

The planned move in this morning's debate on the controversial blocking of the left-wing Islington councillor could turn heavily on the attitude of the big unions. While the TGWU pledged its support for Ms Davies yesterday, Unison withheld it. With the AEEU and the GMB likely to back the report, the attempted rebuff of the leadership could founder.

Delegates have no right to throw out the report on a vote, but a successful attempt to "refer back" the report would exacerbate party embarrassment when it had hoped to have dampened down the issue. If it succeeds, however, the NEC can simply reach the same decision to withhold endorsement as a candidate. Criticising what he called the "indifference" of the leadership, Alan Simpson, MP for Nottinghamshire South and a member of the left-wing Campaign Group of MPs, said: "It's not back me or sack me. It's back me or shove off."

Disputing comments by Tony Blair in a Guardian interview yesterday, Ms Davies said her politics were identical to more than those of 20 other Labour MPs. "Tony Blair has no grounds for suggesting that I would not support a Labour government 'in a situation of difficulty'. I resent this smear."

The Tory party chairman, Brian Mawhinney, urged Tony Blair to drop Dawn Primarolo from his Treasury team because she, like Ms Davies, had refused to pay the poll tax.

A Labour spokesman said: "The NEC made it clear that Liz Davies was an unsuitable candidate because of a period of years of political history, rather than a specific issue."