EXCL Moderate Labour MPs to get lessons in how to avoid being purged by left-wingers

Posted On: 
20th June 2019

Moderate Labour MPs are to be given training in how to avoid being purged by left-wing party members, PoliticsHome can reveal.

Tom Watson set up the Future Britain Group in March.
Credit: 
PA Images

Lessons in the best way to challenge attempts to deselect them are being organised by a group set up by Tom Watson.

The party's deputy leader established the Future Britain Group earlier this year as a way for "democratic socialist" Labour MPs to meet and come up with new policy ideas.

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PoliticsHome has learned that a meeting organised by the group entitled "Incumbency and Campaigning" will take place in Parliament next Monday.

An email sent to members by Mr Watson says it will "give colleagues the chance to share their local strategies for preparing for trigger ballots".

It adds: "If there is demand for this session from colleagues it will be run again at the start of July."

One Labour MP told PoliticsHome: "It shows you the state of the Labour Party when MPs have to receive advice on how to avoid being purged by the hard left."

Trigger ballots can be used by party members as a way of trying to unseat Labour MPs who are deemed to be insufficiently loyal to Jeremy Corbyn.

Under changes agreed by Labour's ruling national executive committee last year, the number of local party branches or affiliated trade union branches needed to demand a full candidate selection process was reduced from a half to a third.

A trigger ballot would then be held, where the sitting MP would go up against rival candidates in a vote by local party members.

In a separate session next Tuesday, Mr Watson's group will hear from Cordelia Hay, director of research at polling experts Britain Thinks, on voter demographics and voting intention.

And on 9 July, the group will be given a presentation by Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation and a former adviser to Ed Miliband, on the state of the British economy and tax and spend projections.

Around 160 Labour MPs and peers attended the Future Britain Group's first meeting in March.

It followed the resignation from the party of nine MPs, including Luciana Berger, Ian Austin, Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie.

Mr Watson said: "I know that the last thing the party needs is another faction and this group is certainly not one. This meeting is intended to pull the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) together at a time when our country needs a united Labour party with all shades of red represented."

Lord Mandelson told the meeting it was time for "Blairites and Brownites to work together to save the party".