EXCL Labour frontbencher criticised for deselection hint in Christmas message
A Labour frontbencher has been criticised for launching a thinly-veiled warning for his colleagues to back Jeremy Corbyn or face being dumped as MPs.
Shadow fire minister Chris Williamson called on party members to "select candidates who support the progressive agenda" that won Mr Corbyn two leadership elections.
Mr Williamson also said being a Labour MP was "an incredible privilege and carries a heavy responsibility" to reflect the views of party members.
He made the remarks in an "alternative Christmas broadcast" posted on Twitter.
The Derby North MP - one of Mr Corbyn's staunchest supporters - said Labour may not have won the general election "but we didn't lose it either".
He said: "To existing party members and activists I say: don't be complacent. Maintaining the momentum behind the epic shift that swept the country last summer rests on your shoulders.
"Change won't happen unless you take responsibility by getting involved to developing policy to selecting candidates who support the progressive agenda that won Jeremy two Labour leadership victories.
"Remember, the Parliamentary Labour Party's job is to articulate and deliver the policies and values that are determined by you, the members. Being a Labour MP is an incredible privilege and carries a heavy responsibility. So my New Year's resolution is to encourage every Labour MP to use 2018 to embrace the vibrancy of our movement and to welcome greater democracy into our party."
Supporters of Mr Corbyn have been accused of targeting his critics both in local government and at Westminster. However, they have consistently denied mounting a purge against moderate members.
One Labour MP told PoliticsHome that Mr Williamson's video message was "creepy".
"Perhaps he should examine why he lost, focus more on people's real needs and a little less on raw politics. Or do us all a favour and simply chill out and enjoy Christmas," the MP said.
Another said: "Chris Williamson video isn’t just about deselecting MPs. By filming it with background of Buckingham Palace interior with a Red Flag soundtrack, he’s also setting his revolutionary sights on deselecting someone far more significant - the Queen."
It is not the first that Mr Williamson has attracted controversy since being re-elected in June.
He faced calls for his sacking in August after he said that accusations of anti-Semitism within the party were a "dirty lowdown trick" being used for "political ends".
He was also criticised the same month after he said women-only train carriages may be needed to tackle a rise in sex attacks.