While the nation battles the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, some parliamentarians have been preoccupied with a crisis of their own – who runs the MPs’ football team. And, though it might be known as the beautiful game, things have turned ugly.
A row has been brewing for months, with long-serving senior Labour MPs taking the drastic action of calling on their colleagues to boycott involvement in running the group in protest at the behaviour of its new Tory chair.
However, a deal has now been brokered for a Tory-Labour power-sharing agreement so harmony can be restored to the dressing room.
It comes after a hotly contested claim emerged that the Conservative MP Karl McCartney effectively mounted a takeover of the all-party parliamentary football club earlier this year when he became chair with the backing of Tory colleagues.
In a bid to kick McCartney into touch, the Labour MPs Clive Betts (a former chair of the group), Ian Murray and Justin Madders emailed Labour colleagues on Monday saying: “Karl McCartney proposed himself Chair and brought a number of Conservative colleagues to support him without any discussion with Labour colleagues.”
They added: “We have been trying to seek compromise with Karl to continue to ensure the collegiate and consensual way we have always operated but he has refused. Ian Murray and Clive Betts have had Zoom conversation with Karl today and he is unwilling to run the group in the all-party cooperative spirit it has always operated. We would ask that no Labour members agree to be an officer until joint agreement is reached.”
However, after the row emerged on Tuesday – first reported by Politico London Playbook – a deal was reached to resolve the disagreement, with Madders due to be appointed co-chair of the group. “In the end, it