The right-leaning press has been getting itself terribly worked up over the story of Labour Councillor Amina Lone, who has represented Hulme on Manchester City Council for the past seven years. Ms Lone has been barred from standing for Labour again, a poor attendance and campaigning record being cited. But she has also publicly spoken up for Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, and this has given the press an opportunity.
Sarah Champion - not sacked, and not involved
As with too many of these stories that turn out not to be what they seem, the deliberate linking of Ms Lone being barred and her defence of Ms Champion was aired first by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, specifically by newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham.
“Readers will remember Amina Lone, the Muslim Labour councillor who defended Sarah Champion and spoke out about abuse by some British-Pakistani men. Just days later, Cllr Lone has been barred from re-standing by the Labour Party. They are using a spurious allegation that her attendance record isn’t up to scratch” they tell.
Thus the link between Sarah Champion - about whom the press has already set its pants alight claiming she was sacked from the shadow cabinet, when she wasn’t - and another nudge-and-wink suggestion that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is indulging in controlling and underhand behaviour. And censorship.
And as so often, the press takes the Fawkes massive on trust, with the Murdoch Sun claiming “A LABOUR councillor has been sacked by the party just a week after she spoke out to support sexually abused children … Amina Lone, a councillor in Manchester, defended Sarah Champion after the MP wrote an article for The Sun pointing the finger at gangs of Asian-origin rapists in northern towns”. Subtle, isn’t it?
You didn't take HIM on trust again? Oh dear!
The Dacre doggies over at the Mail were singing from the same hymn-sheet: “A Labour councillor who spoke up in support of an MP effectively sacked by Jeremy Corbyn has been deselected … Amina Lone went on TV to say that Sarah Champion was being treated as a 'scapegoat' after she was forced to resign for saying the UK had a 'problem' with British Pakistanis abusing white girls”. But there is a problem here.
And that is that there is no link between Ms Lone being barred from standing again, and her recently speaking up for Ms Champion. We can see this by looking at the original Manchester Evening News story on which Wickham based his customary distortion of reality. This article makes no mention whatever of Sarah Champion.
What it does say is “Coun Lone was ordered earlier this summer to face an interview on the grounds that her local campaign and council attendance records were not up to scratch … Ultimately she was not re-selected … She also lost a subsequent appeal”.
So this example of a Councillor being given the benefit of due process began some time before she spoke up for Sarah Champion. Once again, the Fawkes rabble invents something and our free and fearless press fails to engage brain before rushing to publish.
Taking their cue from a known liar once more - and the press wonders why the public has so little faith in its ability to tell the truth. I’ll just leave that one there.