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Exclusive: Have Barnet Labour been hung out to dry as a 'battleground borough' by their own party?

Earlier this year Barnet borough was an important target seat for the Labour Party both regionally and nationally containing two marginal parliamentary constituencies, Hendon and Finchley and Golders Green, that were important for Ed Miliband's chances to become Prime Minister.

In January Sadiq Khan MP, Labour's London election chief and close confidant to Ed Miliband, announced the five 'battleground boroughs' for the May 2014 London local elections. The Evening Standard reported

However suddenly and without any explanation Labour's Sadiq Khan appears to have 'dropped' Barnet from the list of battleground boroughs'. We first became aware of this through a report from our sister publication the Enfield Bugle . They were invited along to the Enfield Labour manifesto launch on May 8th. Whilst delivering his stump speech it was noticed the Mr Khan oddly left (neighbouring) Barnet off his list of target boroughs (skip forward to 10m:00s)

Maybe this was a slip of the tongue? So the Enfield Bugle asked Mr Khan after his speech as to why Barnet was missed out. He said that it was a very difficult borough demographically, made reference to low turnout but had nothing positive to say about the local Labour Group leadership or their campaigning. (This distinctly contrasted with the praise just heaped on Enfield Labour). He very swiftly moved on to talking about Andrew Dismore and Sarah Sackman and next year's general election.

That may have been the end of matters were it not for Mr Khan's appearance on the Sunday Politics. When asked about the boroughs Labour were targeting in London the same four (not five including Barnet) were mentioned (48 seconds in)

Barnet Labour sources have been quick to dismiss this as nonsense. They claim they are still receiving support from London Labour but are unable / unwilling to comment on why they are no longer on Mr Khan's list. 

For London Labour to keep Harrow as a target, with its split and divided Labour vote and party after the racism accusations last year, but not Barnet can only be seen a huge snub to the local party here. Well placed sources blame the Labour leadership for a lacklustre and ineffective campaign; that they had an open goal but "kicked the ball over the net". 

We don't have long to wait to find out. The voters will give their verdict on May 22nd!

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