Labour MPs in 'purge' fear as they are given two-week reselection deadline

Posted On: 
25th June 2019

Labour MPs have been given two weeks to decide whether they want to stand at the next general election, sparking fears they could be "purged" by Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

Jennie Formby wrote to Labour MPs on Monday.
PA Images

In a surprise move, Labour general secretary Jennie Formby wrote to all MPs on Monday confirming the party is now on a general election footing.

She said: "Today, the NEC officers met and agreed the procedural guidelines for re-selection of sitting Members of Parliament. The first stage is to collate the intentions of sitting MPs.

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"I am therefore writing to ask you to inform the Labour Party if you wish to remain a candidate at the next General Election?"

The MPs were asked to fill in a form and return it to the party's legal department by 6pm on Monday, 8 July.

Ms Formby added: "May I also take this opportunity to thank you for the work you have done so far on behalf of the party in Parliament."

But one Labour MP told PoliticsHome: "Given the Labour leadership keep talking about a general election then they have to start the reselection process for MPs.

"However, many MPs will see this as a purge process. Jeremy Corbyn must step in at the start of this process to prevent deselection of hard working Labour MPs."

Last year, the party agreed to change its "trigger ballot" process to make it easier for members to try to unseat sitting MPs.

That led to claims that backers of Mr Corbyn would use the new procedures to get rid of MPs who have been critical of the Labour leadership.

PoliticsHome revealed last week that moderate Labour MPs were to be given lessons on how to avoid being deselected.

The seminar, organised by Tom Watson's 'Future Britain Group', was designed to "give colleagues the chance to share their local strategies for preparing for trigger ballots" and was held on Monday night.

One former Shadow Cabinet member said: "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."