The right-wing candidate in a crucial election to Labour’s national executive has been caught co-ordinating a smear campaign against her rival.
Jasmin Beckett, the Labour First faction’s candidate in today’s youth rep contest, is accused of inciting supporters to slur left candidate James Elliott on social media.
45 Minutes has seen details of a formal complaint sent to Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol on the eve of the election that demands Ms Beckett’s disqualification. It includes evidence that, in a Facebook group used to co-ordinate her campaign, she urged supporters to use their Twitter accounts to suggest that Mr Elliott was an anti-semite. “Get a few people tweeting saying ‘shocked my union GMB are supporting James Elliott who is anti-semitic’?” she wrote.
But, in a bid to distance herself from the smear, Ms Beckett cautioned: “If you’ve got my twibbon on and you want to go hard please take the twibbon off.”
One supporter, Josh Woolas — son of former Labour MP Phil Woolas — added: “Needs to look like a genuine complaint about racism and not a smear campaign!”
The group was seeking to link Mr Elliott with reports of anti-semitism in Oxford University Labour Club (OULC). Former chairman Alex Chalmers resigned in protest at a decision by the club to support Israeli Apartheid Week, accusing the university left of having “some kind of problem with Jews.”
But the Star has seen an email in which Mr Chalmers tells a Daily Mail journalist that Mr Elliott was not involved in the row. “James Elliott wasn’t at the meeting where Israeli Apartheid Week was involved and I haven’t heard any allegations relating to him,” Mr Chalmers wrote.
Labour rules are explicit in ruling out such negative campaigning.With less than a day until the election at the Young Labour conference in Scarborough, Ms Beckett’s exclusion was unlikely yesterday, but disciplinary action could still be taken if she wins.
Another supporter, Manchester Labour Students chair Ally Routledge, has been caught suggesting officials could “fiddle the delegation” of her university to Ms Beckett’s advantage.