Activists concerned about possible selection of Harriet Harman's husband
LABOUR activists could be on a collision course with national party bosses over a reported plan to parachute in Harriet Harman’s husband to the so-called safe seat of Leyton and Wanstead.
Jack Dromey is rumoured to be in the running to replace Harry Cohen, who is stepping down over the MPs’ expenses scandal.
But members of the constituency party are said to be angry that a prospective parliamentary candidate could imposed on them by Labour bigwigs.
The seat is the only one in London without a Labour candidate and the selection process is set to be delayed for another two months.
The Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates have been campaigning in the area for some time, leaving activists concerned that Labour may be losing ground.
London regional director Ken Clark admitted the selection process will be held up until at least January despite reports it would be finalised at a meeting of the local party this week.
Mr Clark said he was “not part of any discussions” about bringing Mr Dromey into Leyton and Wanstead, but said he thought he would "make a very good MP".
However, Greg Elgin, constituency chairman, said he would be "somewhat aggrieved" if it happened.
Labour has a notional majority of about 7,000 in Leyton and Wanstead but fears have been raised over the possibility that a row over selection could hurt the party's chances.
As well as being married to Ms Harman, Mr Dromey is the deputy general secretary of the trade union Unite and is also the treasurer of the Labour party.
Mr Dromey refused to confirm or deny yesterday whether he had discussed the plans with party officials, but said there were discussions 'within the past few days'.