Paul Mason warns Labour MPs they face deselection unless they support Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
16th January 2018

A high-profile supporter of Jeremy Corbyn has warned Labour MPs they have the threat of mandatory reselection "hanging over them" if they do not back the party leader.

Paul Mason addressing a Momentum fringe event alongside John McDonnell and Unite boss Len McCluskey
Credit: 
PA

The comments from former BBC and Channel Four journalist Paul Mason came after three supporters of Mr Corbyn were elected to Labour's ruling National Executive Committee.

Jon Lansman, Yasmine Dar and Rachel Garnham's victory swings the 39-member body decisively in the leader's favour and could allow the Labour left to make sweeping changes to the party rulebook.

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As well as potentially changing the rules governing Labour leadership elections, the possibility of every MP facing reselection by their local party has also been mooted.

Appearing on the Today programme, Mr Mason said he did not know whether Mr Corbyn wanted to impose mandatory reselections on his parliamentary colleagues.

"Just like when we go to the coffee shop this morning and get to choose between latte, cappuccino and tea, I want once in every five years to have it hanging over every lawmaker that they could be reselected if they don’t do their job properly," he said.

"That’s what I want, I don’t know whether Jeremy Corbyn does, but I would like to see that. There are some brilliant right, centrist, even pro-Brexit Labour MPs who I don’t agree with, but they’ve got to do their jobs right."

He later expanded on what he meant on his Twitter page, making clear that loyalty to Mr Corbyn was one of the tests which Labour MPs must pass.

'EYE ON THE PRIZE'

But comedian Eddie Izzard, who missed out on an NEC spot after coming fourth in yesterday's election, urged the party not to turn inwards.

"If we have all our time fighting against each other I just don’t think that’s the way to go forward. We should be further ahead of the Tory party in the polls and that’s what I want to see. 

"I would urge the NEC and I’d urge the Labour party, I’d urge Jeremy to say ‘come on, let’s keep the eye on the prize'.

"The election, let’s win it, let’s get way ahead of the Tories in the polls. If we’re spending all our time fighting each other, that’s just not a positive thing to do." 

MOMENTUM

Meanwhile, Jon Lansman said his first priority as a member of the NEC would be to push for "a massive expansion in Labour's community organising programme".

He said: "For too long, politics has been top heavy and Westminster-centric. If we want to transform society for the many, not the few, we need a socialist Labour government that works in tandem with experienced activists on the ground who understand their communities and are given the resources and training to transform them for the better.

"For the last two years Momentum activists have been getting out into their communities and setting up food clubs, supporting benefits claimants and running successful local campaigns across the country.

"The recent launch of Labour’s community organising unit was a hard fought for victory. Expanding the unit and rolling out community organising support across the country is the next, vital step towards a social movement style party, and I look forward to working with other NEC members to make it a strategic objective going forwards."