Diana Johnson becomes first Labour MP to face reselection battle through trigger ballot process
A Labour MP has become the first in the party to face a reselection vote after being "triggered" by local activists.
Diana Johnson faces a run-off against rival candidates to win the right to be the party's candidate in Kingston upon Hull North at the next general election.
It comes after enough Labour branches in the area voted in a trigger ballot that Ms Johnson - who has held the seat since 2005 - should face a challenge.
The former frontbencher was named 'Backbencher of the Year' in 2018 for her part in the campaign on behalf of those affected by the contaminated blood scandal.
In a statement, she said: "I am disappointed to have been triggered for an open selection by a small number of members, especially when overall the majority of Hull North Constituency Labour Party members have so far voted to re-select me. I am currently considering a procedural challenge to the process.
"However, I stand on my record and will continue doing what I have done every day since May 5th 2005, when I was firs elected, representing the people of Hull North to the very best of my ability - and working to get a Labour government elected. It's business as usual as far as I am concerned."
Critics said the move to oust her was a distraction when there could be a general election within weeks.
One MP told PoliticsHome: "Soft left MPs are going nuts. This is not what Jeremy Corbyn's wanted from deselections - they wanted a Chris Leslie-type figure. Instead they got Diana, who is loved by everyone and a brilliant, kind campaigning MP."
But a shadow minister said: "LOTO (Leader of the opposition's office) did want the trigger. What they didn’t want, and didn’t think about, was the trigger so close to a general election."
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock tweeted: "I’ve worked with Diana Johnson on the Contaminated Blood Scandal. Little wonder that she won the 'Backbencher of the Year' 2018 award, in recognition of her efforts. She’s an inspirational campaigner who’s Labour to her core. Her values, integrity and dedication 2nd to none."
PoliticsHome revealed in July how Labour general secretary Jennie Formby had written to every Labour MP explaining the trigger ballot process.
The "FAQs document" explained that an MP is triggered when "one third or more of Labour Party branches or one third or more of affiliated branches, who return their ballot, indicate they wish a selection to take place".