It seems that this morning she was persuaded not to defect after all, presumably by Tom Watson, Labour's beleagured by election campaign manager. He wrote THIS on his blog this afternoon.
The central office stooge is at it again. Iain Dale posted on his blog earlier today that a Southall Councillor Mrs Noori has defected to the Tories. There’s a small problem with this though. She hasn’t resigned. Councillor Noori is not happy about Iain Dale’sLet's establish the facts, shall we?
slur. Lawyers are being consulted. Here’s the statement she has just asked to be issued on her behalf: “I joined the Labour Party to serve my community. That remains the case….. I have not resigned my membership and will not be joining the Conservatives. Tomorrow I will be leading campaigning for Labour’s victory on July 19th. I hope to see you on the campaign trail too!" Oh Iain. Councillor Noori is a member of the National Union of Journalists and knows her rights. Will we finally get an apology out of you?
1. Last night Cllr Noori did indeed agree with her five councillor colleagues that she would be joining them.
2. A statement was agreed with her, which I have, but I won't post unless she'd like me to.
3. The announcement was embargoed until 10am this morning.
4. Since I heard nothing to the contrary overnight I posted the story this morning.
5. Tom Watson then presumably persuaded Cllr Noori of the error of her ways.
Now, with regard to an apology, what is it exactly I'm to apologise for? Acting on information given to me in good faith and which was correct at the time of publication? It was even formatted on a Conservative Party press release, just like the one the previous day when the group of five defections was announced. I am sure that Cllr Noori, as a member of the NUJ, would accept that this was a pretty good reason to write the story.
Actually, on second thoughts, I will apologise. I am deeply sorry for Tom Watson that he has to put up with people like this when he's trying to run a by election campaign which is disintegrating before his eyes.
UPDATE: Here's a quote from a CCHQ spokesman: "Cllr Noori did agree twice on Monday night to leave the Labour Party to join the Conservatives in order to support Tony Lit's energetic and dynamic campaign. It appears that the Labour party has now bullied her into changing her mind. However this is exactly the kind of strongarm Labour tactics which has driven five of their other Councillors away from the divided Labour party."