Watford Labour candidate beats Momentum rival

Published
Image source, Watford Labour Party
Image caption,
Chris Ostrowski won by a "clear margin" in a vote of more than 300 members at a private hustings

A Labour candidate has beaten a union and Momentum-backed rival to represent the party in Watford at the next general election.

Chris Ostrowski has been chosen as the party's parliamentary candidate over Mike Hedges, chair of Unite's London and Eastern political committee.

It follows a process where Mr Hedges was excluded from the initial shortlist by the local party.

In a tweet, Mr Hedges said he was "proud to have stood and come second".

"Looking forward to working with you all to deliver a Labour government!" he said.

'Always controversies'

Mr Ostrowski won by a "clear margin" in a vote of more than 300 members at a private hustings on Tuesday.

He said: "The fact that support was quite broad for my candidacy means that we are in a very strong position to continue the work that we've started."

In last year's general election, Mr Ostrowski was narrowly beaten by Richard Harrington. The Conservative MP, retained his seat by just over 2,000 votes.

Mr Hedges was backed by Momentum, a group supporting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn which wants more grassroots say over policy.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Momentum is the Corbyn-supporting group which wants more grassroots say over policy

He had made it on to the long list of candidates but was rejected for the short list after being interviewed by the local selection committee, which said it gave Mr Hedges' nomination full consideration and proper procedures were followed.

Despite this, the committee said they were overruled and told by Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) that Mr Hedges must be on the shortlist. The NEC claimed his nomination had not been properly considered.

A hustings meeting due to take place in December was postponed after the national Labour Party said an "administrative error with postal vote application forms came to light".

The Watford Labour Party said the delay was due to a complaint from Mr Hedges and his supporters, designed to give him more time to secure votes.

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