Corbyn ally Rhea Wolfson gets green light to fight for Livingston seat

Nathanael Williams

Momentum campaigner urges Scots to deliver radical Labour future as only hope

RHEA WOLFSON, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum organiser, has been selected by Scottish Labour to fight for the Livingston seat in the upcoming General Election.

The selection is part of a batch of candidate selections by the party which also included Blair McDougall, the former chair of Better Together, as the East Renfrewshire candidate,

The move will be seen as an attempt to draw left-leaning voters away from the SNP, who hold the seat with Hannah Bardell MP, and stop the Scottish Liberal Democrats who seek to capitalise on a Remain unionist vote.

“The election on June 8 is the establishment versus the people, and only Labour is on the side of the people.” Rhea Wolfson

Wolfson has cited her credentials as being on the left of the party and distanced from the right which has dogged Corbyn, since his rise to leadership.

She said: “The only way to get rid of this miserable Tory government and deliver a radical Labour government is to vote Labour. We need a government led by Jeremy Corbyn for the many, not the few.

“The election on June 8 is the establishment versus the people, and only Labour is on the side of the people.”

Exclusive: Scottish Young Labour slam “disastrous” and “untrue” Sadiq Khan Scottish nationalism comments  

!n August last year, Wolfson was elected to the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) by 85,687 votes, which was seen as a strengthening of Corbyn’s influence. During the past year she has tussled with Blairites in the Labour party such as Tessa Jowell who told her, “you need to get out more” when Wolfson defended Corbyn after MP’s launched an attempt to oust Corbyn in 2016.

The left wing activist who helps represent low paid workers in schools also clashed with former Scottish Labour leader and Tony Blair adviser Jim Murphy, who she signalled out as a reason for not gaining selection in a previous round of NEC nominations. There were accusations of anti-Semitism towards Wolfson when she attempted to replace Ken Livingston on the NEC, only to be blocked by Murphy.

Her candidature is part of a wider trend among younger activists within the party to take it in a more left-leaning, explicitly socialist direction and away from the centre right triangulation of the Blair and Murphy years.

Groups such as Scottish Young Labour have been vocal and influential in pushing the party towards a commitment to persue federalism and a strategy to gain back voters lost before and during the 2014 independence referendum.

Read more: Jewish Scottish Labour NEC candidate claims she was blocked by Jim Murphy over anti-Semitism claims 

The group infamously came out rebuking Sadiq Khan for his “disastrous” comments on the independence debate and Scottish nationalism earlier this year.

She now faces the difficult task of overturning a 15,000 vote majority in Livingston, with the SNP’s Bardell receiving over 32,000 votes in 2015 compared to Labour’s 15,800. Bardell has developed a national and local profile fighting the UK Government over job centre closures and against the austerity cuts, which have disproportionately fallen on women since 2010.

She came to prominence with her rendition of the famous ‘Trainspotting’ monologue in which she satirised Tory cuts to public services.

Lining up with her for Scottish Labour electoral team is Blair McDougall, the former leader of the campaign against Scottish independence – Better Together – contesting the seat of East Renfrewshire which is a target seat now held by the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald. The former Better Together boss was associated with a negative campaign style during the independence referendum in 2014, coined ‘Project Fear’ by some of its organisers.

The UK General Election will take place on 8 June.

Picture courtesy of YouTube

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