Neil Coyle has so far staved off the threat of deselection from his Bermondsey and Old Southwark seat despite a vociferous campaign to oust him, marred by claims and counter allegations of bullying and underhand tactics.
Seven of his constituency branches have now voted automatically to reselect Coyle as the party’s election candidate, with one posting a tie. The News understands Coyle won one vote by a margin of two and none so far have publicly stated they are in favour of pulling the ‘trigger ballot’, resulting in Coyle facing open selection. Trade union Unite Construction has already come out in favour of Coyle.
“I’m very pleased, to be completely honest I didn’t think that I would get through that with none voting to deselect me at the weekend,” Coyle told the News. “I think I have proved that I have the support of my local party members.”
There have also been a number of vociferous campaigns to deselect him from those angered by his vocal criticisms of the party leadership and blunt, argumentative style.
Some members claimed they had deliberately only been informed about the time and location of the votes last minute.
Speaking about the internal opposition against him, he said: “I don’t give a flying monkeys about what people who don’t live here in this constituency think.”
He went on to say “every process has been followed” and there’s not much he can do if “members don’t check their junk emails”.
The final two members’ votes take place tonight (Thursday) before the party’s affiliates have their say. So far, Coyle is on much firmer ground than many anticipated.
“I take nothing for granted,” he said. “I know that I will make my case for voters in the same way I did in 2015, I promise I will never vote for anything that would harm them.”