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Mystery of the Birmingham MP, a councillor, fake email and ‘spurious’ rumours

Mystery of the Birmingham MP, a councillor, fake email and ‘spurious’ rumours

🕔28.May 2013

Police have been asked to investigate a ‘fake’ email from a Birmingham MP purporting to show disquiet within the Labour Party about the selection of a candidate for the 2015 General Election.

Scores of Labour members were surprised to receive a copy of a ‘message’ on Bank Holiday Monday, apparently from an angry Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff to Sparkbrook councillor Habib Rehman.

The email appeared to have been forwarded by Cllr Rehman to his colleagues.

Cllr Rehman denies any knowledge of the matter and says he did not forward the email.

The email was based on Mr Godsiff’s apparent concern about false claims that he was to stand down from parliament at the next election and his fear that a clandestine operation to find a Labour candidate to replace him was already under way.

The message, supposedly from the MP to Cllr Rehamn, was also circulated to West Midlands Labour Party officials Ian Reilly and Keith Hanson.

The subject heading of the email was: “Embarrassing letter from Roger Godsiff to Cllr Habib Ul Rehman.”

It read: “It has come to my attention that rumours are circulating to the effect that I will not be standing as a parliamentary candidate at the next General Election.

“This has resulted in individuals in the constituency being visited and support being solicited for other people. On checking as to how such rumours originated I regret to say that your name and that of a close friend of yours regularly comes up.”

The email went on to condemn “spurious and untrue” rumours cooked up in the Labour members’ room at the Council House by councillors with time on their hands.

The message, signed “best regards”, states that Mr Godsiff fully intends to stand in the 2015 General Election and looks forward to fighting the 2020 contest as well.

Cllr Rehman, who chairs the Hall Green District Committtee, told Chamberlain Files he had not forwarded the email and neither had Mr Godsiff.

He believed the email had been sent by a “troublemaker” from  a fake account and he had reported the incident to the police.

He said: “This matter is with the police now. I don’t know who started this but the police are on to it.

“This is a fake email and Roger Godsiff knows nothing about it. It’s up to the police to investigate and try to find out who set up this account.”

Mr Godsiff has been a Birmingham MP for 21 years, first for Small Heath and for Hall Green since 2010. He held the seat with a 3,799 majority at the last General Election, narrowly beating off a strong challenge from Salma Yaqoob from Respect.

A spokesman for Mr Godsiff said the MP had been concerned for some time about attempts to destabalise him.

Mr Godsiff feared that elements in the Birmingham Labour Party were attempting to replace him at the next election with an alternative candidate.

The spokesman added: “For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Godsiff intends to stand as the Labour candidate in Hall Green at the 2015 General Election.”

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