Sat, 28 January 2023

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By Andrew McCormick
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CLP tells Luciana Berger to apologise and 'get on board' with Jeremy Corbyn project

CLP tells Luciana Berger to apologise and 'get on board' with Jeremy Corbyn project
3 min read

Luciana Berger has been told by her local Labour party to apologise for criticising Jeremy Corbyn. 

The Liverpool Wavertree MP was one of a number of shadow ministers to quit their frontbench roles last year in protest at Mr Corbyn’s continued leadership of the party.

After a CLP meeting where nine out of ten committee posts were won by members of the pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum, she was told she needed to “get on board quite quickly now”.

The Liverpool Echo reports that Roy Bentham, one of those elected to a new position, said: “She will now have to sit round the table with us the next time she wants to vote for bombing in Syria or to pass a no confidence motion in the leader of the party – she will have to be answerable to us.

“We would like her to come out publicly like other MPs have done and apologise for not supporting him in the past.”

In response, Ms Berger put out a joint statement with new CLP secretary Angela Kehoe Jones praising Mr Corbyn – but not apologising for her previous criticisms.

“We are united in wanting to secure a new general election and the return of a Labour government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn as soon as possible,” the statement read.

“We had a great local result on June 8, with the Labour majority going up for the third election in a row and almost four in five people voting for Luciana Berger as the Labour candidate. That is thanks to the hard work of local members and a revitalised national party under Jeremy Corbyn.

“It is a fantastic foundation for the next general election, whenever it comes.”

The pressure on Ms Berger comes amid mounting speculation that some figures on the left of the party want to change the rules to make it easier for local parties to deselect their MPs.

Shadow fire minister Chris Williamson – one of Mr Corbyn's closest supporters – said automatic reselection could help "concentrate minds" among his parliamentary colleagues.

Fellow frontbencher Ian Lavery, who was also appointed Labour chairman after the election, has also given his backing to a change in the current rules, which require a two-thirds majority for local parties to hold so-called "trigger ballots" on their MPs.

Speaking to reporters, a senior source close to the Labour leader said: “Jeremy's leadership from the start had as one of its goals the democratisation of the Labour party and our wider political system.

“There's no doubt there will be changes to the way the Labour party operates to take account of the fact that we've now got upwards of 550,000 members. We want to see a much more engaged, proactive and democratic organisation going into the future.

“When it comes to particular reforms, Jeremy hasn't taken a position on them, but he wants to see a wider democratisation of the party. When it comes to how the systems of selection and reselection of MPs, there already is a system in place of trigger ballots in normal circumstances and the Labour party nationally is discussing when selections will take place at the moment.”

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