Labour party leader will step down in protest

A SENIOR Labour party leader has warned he will step down after a row over an all-women shortlist for the North Tyneside MP nomination.

A SENIOR Labour party leader has warned he will step down after a row over an all-women shortlist for the North Tyneside MP nomination.

Eddie Darke, secretary of Labour’s North Tyneside General Committee, has told the party’s national bosses he will not be standing again for his current position in protest at the way they have “let down” North Tyneside.

Mr Darke, a councillor in North Tyneside, hit out after a meeting to decide on the future of the seat was held without him.

It is thought 19 women have put their name forward for the seat currently held by Stephen Byers with a 15,000 majority.

Across the region, Labour party bosses have ordered local members to ban men from standing where possible as they try to increase the number of woman holding key posts.

But in an email to party leaders, Mr Darke suggested his constituency was being forced to accept an all woman shortlist in order to maker it easier for NUM president Ian Lavery to go for the Wansbeck seat in Northumberland.

His email said: “It seems to me that the national Labour party could not care less about the membership who do all the work on the ground.”

He added: “As the national Labour party have shown me no respect, after 28 years as an officer of the constituency I will not be standing for secretary at the AGM in February as I feel that I have been kicked in the teeth by the national Labour party and I will be seriously considering what role I play in the general election, if any.”

There was also a warning that Labour only has “a handful of active workers within the party” and that there was a risk many would not help in the general election “after the way you have treated us”.

Contacted by The Journal yesterday Mr Darke would only say the matter was not a complaint about all-women shortlists. He said any issues would be addressed by the party’s communication officer.

A Labour North spokesman said: “Eddie Darke is a long-standing and well-respected Labour Party activist who has served the party and his community well and I am sure will continue to do so.

“He remains CLP Secretary and fully engaged in selecting Labour’s next candidate for North Tyneside.

“Labour is working to increase the diversity of Parliament and has a proud record of increasing the number of women MPs. In working to achieve this we believe that members should play the key role in selecting their candidates, as they have and will continue to do.”


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