A SOCIALIST politician who has spoken of his admiration for hard left policies adopted by Labour councils in the 1980s has been elected chairman of an influential Labour Party committee.

Jon Rogers was among a clean sweep of nine Corbynite candidates elected to the executive committee of the Local Campaign Forum (LCF), which will organise the selection of Labour candidates for the 2019 Brighton and Hove City Council elections.

Several soft left Labour members have told The Argus of their concerns for the direction of the party in the city, following the LCF result on November 26.

On his blog Mr Rogers wrote: “The last time that anything really significant (from a socialist point of view) happened in local government in the UK was the 1980s, when the Livingstone-led Greater London council (in particular – but alongside the metropolitan county councils and some London boroughs) tested the boundaries of what progressive councillors could do with their positions.”

He added: “In Poplar in the 1920s, Clay Cross in the 1970s and in Lambeth and Liverpool in the 1980s Labour councillors were forced to make the choice between ‘breaking the law’ and ‘breaking the poor’ – and in each case a brave minority made the right choice and were defeated and subsequently denigrated.”

His post calls the party rule, which commits councils to setting balanced budgets, “unfortunately worlds away from our current concerns.”

The LCF runs the process to select potential council candidates. Anyone who wishes to be selected as the Labour candidate in any of the city wards must first put their name forward to the LCF.

The LCF confirms the individual’s party affiliation and that they are a fit and proper person to stand, then that person joins the selection ‘panel’.

Anyone on the panel can then apply to a ward, to be selected as their councillor. This also applies to sitting councillors.

The Argus understands no qualified candidates will be refused a place on the panel, but that efforts will be made to encourage as many candidates as possible to stand, including more LGBT and ethnic minority candidates than have stood in recent years.

The LCF will aim to field at least three potential candidates for each of the 54 seats.

The new vice-chairwoman of the committee, former councillor Anne Pissaridou, told The Argus: “We’re going to field great candidates, enough to have a Labour majority on the council.”

She added: “Sitting councillors shouldn’t be worried, nobody should be worried. It will be a fair and open process as always.”

One long-time city Labour activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “This is far worse than Militant in the 80s as this is a total grab for power of the local and, in turn, national Labour Party. Many councillors are now openly under threat of deselection from this Stalinist group.”

An email from Momentum leadership last week said: “We have finally elected a new leadership team to work for the first socialist majority on Brighton and Hove City Council at the elections in May 2019.”