Angela Rayner Has Urged Labour HQ To Address Concerns Over MP Deselections
Angela Rayner (Photography by Ray Burmiston)
Exclusive: Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has raised concerns with party HQ over accusations that some MPs have been threatened with deselection by their local parties.
In a new interview with The House magazine, Rayner revealed that she had brought the issue of complaints over potential procedural irregularities to the attention of general secretary David Evans in a bid to resolve them.
Left-wing Labour MPs Sam Tarry, Apsana Begum and Ian Byrne are facing the prospect of deselection after local members voted against automatically reselecting them as candidates at the next general election.
All three have publicly said they do not believe the processes used for their trigger ballots – the votes that determine whether they must go through a full selection contest – were fair.
Intervening in the row, Rayner said: “We had a problem with our data, which is quite well-known. I know that people have raised concerns about that. And people have raised other concerns.
“I've been having those conversations with the general secretary about how we resolve those because I want to see a fair process where people feel that they're supported.”
She defended Tarry, who is undergoing a full selection process after being “triggered” by local members, as “a fantastic MP”. It is understood that Tarry and Rayner are in a relationship.
“Our MPs do a very difficult job at times and certainly the MPs that came in in 2019, just as Covid hit, they've had a particularly difficult run.
“Sam served on the front bench and has done a sterling job for both Keir and myself, and for the labour movement. I think he's been an excellent MP,” the deputy leader told The House.
Asked whether she would encourage Labour members not to deselect their MPs, Rayner replied: “Local democracy is really important. I think that's an important part of our membership.”
But she went on to point out that she supported Luciana Berger – the former Labour MP who left to co-found The Independent Group, later Change UK – when the Liverpool Wavertree MP was vulnerable to deselection.
“I don't think it's necessarily helpful for factions to try and attack other politicians because they may not agree with everything that they stand for,” Rayner said.
“I don't approve of us attacking each other. The more we do that, the more the public will see us as not a government in waiting. Actually, attacking each other proves to the public that we're not fit to govern.”
Rayner described “factional attacks” as damaging Labour’s “ability to change people's lives and to get us into government”.
“I don't think that should be the focus of the Labour Party and never have felt that, regardless of what shade of red you are, and that's why I think I got broad support when I stood to be deputy leader.
“If we can't be inclusive to members of the Labour Party, how are we going to be inclusive to people that are not members of the Labour Party, that have different views to us?
“We have to be a government in waiting and that means sometimes you may disagree on a particular issue, but you can do that respectfully.”
She continued: “Attacking individuals because you don't like their political allegiances within the movement I think is really unhelpful, regardless of what shade of red you are.”
Tarry faces a final hustings on 10 October. The timetable for selections in the constituency parties of Begum and Byrne have not yet been fixed.
The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.
Read the full interview with Angela Rayner in The House magazine and online.
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