The chances of Rochdale’s still nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk returning to the party’s ranks following the still-incomplete investigation into his conduct hinge on a number of factors, of which that inquiry is just one. Another is his support among local Labour members, party workers, activists, and local politicians. And news has arrived on Zelo Street that Spanker Si has suffered a serious setback in this area.
Since the infamous case of the “Rochdale Seven” - the expulsion of seven Labour members over their complaints about Danczuk’s suitability as a candidate which was triggered by his then girlfriend Karen Burke being dumped at Alicante Airport with no money and two small children to look after - Danczuk has had the backing of his local Labour party, duly rubber-stamped by the national organisation.
But after he was suspended following the revelation of his “sexting” a 17-year-old girl just over a year ago, the cracks started to appear. When it came to nominating a Labour candidate for the new post of Metro Mayor for Manchester, Danczuk’s backers tried to keep front-runner Andy Burnham out of the constituency. They failed: Burnham got to address local party members, and Rochdale CLP then backed him.
So it should have surprised no-one last week, at Rochdale CLP’s AGM, that Simon Danczuk’s friends and apologists got what the Norwegian football commentator memorably called “One hell of a beating”. Apart from the position of treasurer, which none of Spanker Si’s detractors wanted to contest, every other post up for grabs was secured by someone who wants Danczuk out of Rochdale Labour politics.
Every last post on the CLP taken away from what is referred to in a tone more serious than outsiders might imagine as “The Danczuk mafia”. Another prop kicked away from an MP who still fantasises about being let back into a party which gives every sign of not wanting anything more to do with him. And it gets worse - a lot worse.
Simon Danczuk has long peddled the idea that his Liberal and later Lib Dem predecessor Cyril Smith was not merely a homosexual, as had been long believed following the 1979 revelations by the Rochdale Alternative Paper, which were followed up nationally by Private Eye magazine, but a paedophile as well. But in the book written for him by his then side-kick Matt Baker, the claim that Smith was pulled over by Northants Police on the M1 with a stash of child porn in his car was later shown to be completely fabricated.
Now, as the excellent Northern Voices blog has confirmed, Danczuk’s claims about Knowl View school have collapsed. As with the Northants Police claim, no evidence has been found to back up the claim in Danczuk and Baker’s book, which is looking increasingly like a work of fiction. And the MP has alienated Greater Manchester Police into the bargain - for not getting the result he wanted.
Simon Danczuk has just suffered two highly significant losses in his campaign to remain as an MP. Now it’s over to the Labour Party to finish the job.