Unite calls for mandatory reselection of Labour MPs

Posted On: 
14th July 2016

Unite members turned up the heat in the Labour civil war today by calling for the mandatory reselection of the party's MPs.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey is one of Jeremy Corbyn's biggest supporters
PA Images

The incendiary move was contained in a motion passed at the union's policy conference which also condemned "the attempts of right-wing Labour MPs in concert with hostile sections of the media" to oust Jeremy Corbyn.

It went on: "MPs have not got 'jobs for life'. They represent their constituency but ultimately they are selected by and accountable to their Constituency Labour Party. To ensure democratic accountability and the rights of party members to select candidates that reflect their views, conference supports the need for mandatory reselection of Labour MPs in each parliament as essential."

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Significantly, the motion was backed by Unite's ruling executive - meaning it is supported by the union's general secretary Len McCluskey.

It will be seen as a shot across the bows of the 172 Labour MPs who backed a motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn's leadership two weeks ago.

Former Shadow Cabinet members Angela Eagle and Owen Smith have also launched leadership challenges against the leader.

A Unite spokesman said: "This vote simply reflects the immense frustration that our members feel. They look at the conduct of some within the party, the challenge to the elected leader and they feel angered.  They want Labour fighting the Tories, not among themselves."

But one Labour MP told PoliticsHome: "I think we should have mandatory re-selection for the general secretary of Unite."

Meanwhile, Labour's national executive committee sparked a fresh row today after it ruled that union members will not be able to vote in the party's leadership contest unless they joined before January 12.

The move followed claims that some unions were offering cut-price membership as a way of signing up Jeremy Corbyn supporters so they could vote for him.

Sources at Unite told PoliticsHome they were taking legal advice in the wake of the controversial move.