EXCL Anger as Labour MPs back top Tory Zac Goldsmith to be Commons committee chair
A furious row has erupted after senior Labour MPs backed Zac Goldsmith's campaign for a top Commons post despite criticism of his attacks on Sadiq Khan during his attempt to become mayor of London.
Shadow Cabinet members Barry Gardiner and Sarah Champion - who is minister for equalities - as well as London MP David Lammy, are among the Labour figures who have nominated the Tory MP to be chair of the Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs committee. The others are Kerry McCarthy and Carolyn Harris.
Mr Goldsmith came under intense criticism during his campaign to be mayor of London, which was branded “racist” and “divisive” by Labour and Conservative activists.
He frequently portrayed his Muslim opponent as somebody who had links to extremists and questioned whether he would be able to keep the capital safe.
Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, made clear his opposition to Mr Goldsmith on Twitter.
He told PoliticsHome: "As chairman of the London group of Labour MPs, I have been at pains to point out to colleagues that Goldsmith ran a disgusting, Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan and is not the sort of person that Labour MPs should be endorsing, given he has shown absolutely no remorse or contrition since the campaign."
It is understood that Tottenham MP Mr Lammy has been friends with Mr Goldsmith for a long time, and believes that he should have been stronger in standing up to Tory election guru Lynton Crosby during the mayoral campaign. Mr Goldsmith has also been urging Tory MPs to back Mr Lammy's campaign to be chairman of the communities and local government committee.
Barry Gardiner refused to comment when asked why he had nominated Mr Goldsmith.
Mr Goldsmith is running against Conservative MPs Neil Parish and Bill Wiggin to be chair of the committee.
Voting closes at 4pm today with the result announced immediately after they have been counted.