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Sat, 15 August 2020

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EXCL Pregnant Labour MP facing deselection threat for signing Chris Williamson statement

EXCL Pregnant Labour MP facing deselection threat for signing Chris Williamson statement
3 min read

A heavily-pregnant Labour MP is facing the threat of deselection after she put her name to a statement criticising the decision to re-admit Chris Williamson to the party.

Ellie Reeves was one of more than 120 MPs and peers - including deputy leader Tom Watson - who backed calls for Jeremy Corbyn to "immediately" remove the Labour whip from the controversial backbencher.

Mr Williamson, who had initially been suspended in February over allegations of anti-semitism, was allowed back into the party last Wednesday after receiving a formal warning.

In their statement, the Labour parliamentarians said: "We call on Jeremy Corbyn to show leadership by asking for this inappropriate, offensive and reputationally damaging decision to be overturned and reviewed.

"Ultimately, it is for Jeremy Corbyn to decide whether Chris Williamson retains the Labour whip. He must remove it immediately if we are to stand any hope of persuading anyone that the Labour Party is taking anti-semitism seriously."

The Derby North MP was again suspended by the party on Friday after Jennie Formby, Labour's general secretary, called for the decision to let him back in to be reviewed.

It has now emerged that a Labour member in Ms Reeves' Lewisham West and Penge constituency wants her to face a "trigger ballot", which could see her replaced as the party's candidate for the next general election.

In an email to the local party chairman John Clark, the party member said: "I would like to put forward a motion of no confidence in Ellie Reeves our MP for signing Tom Watson MP letter regarding Chris Williamson MP at our next meeting and also start the new trigger process to deselect our MP which you should have received from Jennie Formby."

In his response, Mr Clark suggests the member brings forward their motion in time for the branch's next general meeting on 6 July and recommends that he keeps it below 250 words.

He adds: "A motion can with the agreement of the GM be taken as an emergency. To be considered it must be with me as chair (or whoever is the chair) before the start of the meeting, when the chair will ask the meeting if it wishes to consider the motion at that meeting. There is no discussion at this point and a simple majority is all that is required."

PoliticsHome understands that Ms Reeves - who is 22 weeks pregnant - asked Mr Corbyn's office to intervene on her behalf, but was turned down.

Her case was also raised at Monday night's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as at Tuesday's meeting of the Shadow Cabinet.

A spokesman for the Labour leader refused to comment.

One Labour MP said: "It's staggering that a heavily pregnant Labour MP is being hounded by rogue members of her local party for supporting due process and a decision that the general secretary of the party eventually agreed with.

"MPs from all sections of the party should feel able to speak out against racism in any form and not be bullied into submission because it is inconvenient for the party."

But a Labour party source said: "No motion has been formally moved or tabled. And in any case, motions of no confidence have no formal standing and do not result in trigger ballots. Any MP who is on parental leave will not undergo reselection processes until they return from leave."

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