Starmer's allies accused of 'revenge' act over bid to remove Labour MP

Sir Keir Starmer’s allies accused of fast-tracking bid to remove Angela Rayner’s boyfriend as Labour MP in ‘revenge’ act against former shadow minister Sam Tarry – who was sacked over rail strikes row

  • Sam Tarry set to face reselection battle in Ilford South before Labour conference
  • He was recently sacked as a shadow minister by Keir Starmer over strikes row
  • The 39-year-old is widely reported to be in a relationship with Angela Rayner 

Allies of Sir Keir Starmer have been accused of fast-tracking a bid to remove sacked shadow minister Sam Tarry as a Labour MP in an act of ‘revenge’.

The Ilford South MP – who is widely reported to be in a relationship with Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner – is set to face a reselection battle in his constituency before the party’s annual conference next month.

Local party members will vote to keep Mr Tarry as their candidate – or opt for someone else – ahead of the next general election. 

The reselection battle was triggered last month when all ten local Labour branches voted against the former trade unionist automatically becoming their candidate at the next election. 

After approving the action, Labour’s leadership is claimed to have sped up the process and it is now expected to be over within weeks.

It comes after Mr Tarry was sacked as a shadow transport minister by Sir Keir after he gave a TV interview on the picket line during recent rail strikes.

One supporter of Mr Tarry told the Guardian the reselection process in Ilford South had been ‘steam-rollered through’ by party officials and ‘it looks directly like a revenge manoeuvre’ against him.

Sam Tarry, the Ilford South MP, is widely reported to be in a relationship with Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner

Mr Tarry is set to face a reselection battle in his constituency before Labour’s annual conference next month

Sir Keir Starmer, pictured on a visit to Salisbury Plain this week, recently sacked Mr Tarry as a shadow transport minister

Sir Keir’s decision to fire Mr Tarry from his frontbench role reignited Labour tensions over the party leader’s stance on rail strikes.

The Labour leader has consistently seen his MPs – including frontbenchers – defy his orders not to join picket lines outside train stations in support of striking rail workers.

But Sir Keir suggested last month that Mr Tarry was not sacked merely for joining a picket line, but because he gave a TV interview ‘without permission’, during which he was ‘making up policy on the hoof’.

Mr Tarry worked on Jeremy Corbyn’s successful Labour leadership campaign in 2016 and has recently claimed there is a ‘targeted’ plot to purge left-wing MPs from the party.

He has also made allegations of ‘rule-breaking’, ‘voter fraud’, and ‘voter impersonation’ in the attempt to unseat him as the Ilford South MP.

As the sitting MP, Mr Tarry will automatically be on the shortlist when local Labour members choose their candidate for the next election.

But he is expected to face at least one rival in his reselection battle.

The 39-year-old said: ‘Ilford South Labour party members and voters in the constituency need an MP who stands alongside workers defending their jobs, pay and conditions, and who will fight for properly funded free public services to be funded by taxing the rich.

‘An MP with a powerful track record standing up for all of Ilford diverse communities, and its workers.

‘As the Labour MP for Ilford South, I am proud to join rail workers on the picket line, and will do likewise with the postal service employees, BT staff and any other union members standing up to this rightwing Tory government’s attacks on workers.

‘Ilford South needs a voice – an MP – proud to stand up for workers in Parliament.’

A Labour source said: ‘The process is being followed in the same way it is for any reselection.’

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