Diana Johnson: Labour MP wins battle against deselection

Member for Hull North faced challenge from Momentum-backed candidate under new party rules

Colin Drury
Saturday 26 October 2019 19:04
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A Labour MP threatened with deselection under new party rules has won the contest to be her constituency’s prospective candidate at the next election.

Diana Johnson, who has represented Hull North for 14 years, faced the fight after a third of local members triggered a ballot by saying they had lost confidence in her.

Under rules introduced by Jeremy Corbyn last year, she was challenged by Momentum-backed local councillor Aneesa Akbar.

It made Ms Johnson the first Labour parliamentarian to have to battle opponents from within the party for the right to defend their own seat.

But, after a bruising local campaign, she comfortably won with 292 votes of local constituency members compared to Ms Akbar’s 101.

Following the announcement of her victory, Ms Johnson told the Hull Daily Mail: “I’m absolutely delighted that the members of Hull North put their confidence in me as they did in 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2017.

“I always knew that members would back me.”

The 53-year-old, who was named backbencher of the year in 2018, added: “It’s been a very stressful campaign because obviously it’s been in the middle of the national crisis around Brexit, so it has been a very difficult few weeks trying to balance being a member of parliament in Westminster and running a campaign.”

Ms Akbar said: “I would like to congratulate Diana on her victory and now I’m going to unite behind her.”

Several other Labour MPs across the country now face similar reselection battles including Margaret Hodge, Roger Godsiff, Emma Lewell-Buck, Kate Osamor and Virendra Sharma.

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