An expulsion from caucus awaits backbench MP Gaurav Sharma on Tuesday morning.
That means he’ll still vote with Labour, but not be allowed to participate in any caucus activity. A lonely, shadowy position.
Labour could still expel him from the party, making him an independent MP or force him out of Parliament all together, triggering a by-election in Hamilton West.
He won against National’s Tim Macindoe by 6,300 votes in 2020 – Labour won 52% of the Party vote compared to 25% for National. In comparison, Sharma was beaten by Macindoe by 7,700 votes in the 2017 election, with National getting 46% of the vote to Labour’s 37%.
Behind the scenes, fellow MPs say Sharma is someone who keeps to himself and hasn’t bought into the ‘class of 2020’ gang. He’s said to be an incredibly hard worker in his electorate and dedicated to serving his electorate.
We saw evidence of this when he refused to dial into a Zoom caucus meeting on Tuesday about his political future because he had a prior engagement in Hamilton.
Turns out Labour has a pre-meeting anyway on Monday night. It was a bad call not giving the public a heads up, because it gives the impression his fate was sealed before he had a chance to front up.
Natural justice should be important. Labour also needs to take responsibility for not managing him properly. He’s a bright guy – the should have put him to work writing health policy or contributing in a meaningful way.
The allegations of bullying are serious and Sharma is calling for an independent investigation which seems fair enough. The party aren’t keen because it would be a long, drawn out saga and air it’s dirty laundry.
He was offered an olive branch by the party: Check yourself, hush up and you can work your way back by the end of the year.
That’s not the way he decided to go down.
He’s broken the rules of that party that you can’t talk about internal caucus communications publicly and there’s no doubt he’s bought the party into disrepute.
If the last few days are anything to go by – Gaurav Sharma will not back down.