Labour MPs automatically reselected for early general election in defeat for Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
19th April 2017

Labour MPs will be automatically reselected to fight the upcoming general election, thwarting Jeremy Corbyn's ambition to give party members an automatic say over who stands in their seat.

At an emergency meeting yesterday, the party's National Executive Committee ruled unanimously against introducing so-called "trigger ballots", under which a candidate would need 50% of local party member's votes to be re-selected. 

Ever since Mr Corbyn became leader reports have circulated that his allies want to use reselection as a way of getting rid of moderate MPs implacably opposed to the leftwinger's leadership. 

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A Labour source told the Huffington Post that Mr Corbyn had been personally behind the idea of trigger ballots, but the NEC decided there was not enough time between now and 8 June to carry through the process.

Another source said having mandatory reselections would be a "massive waste of time and energy" when the party needed to be out campaigning.

'COMPLETELY UNDERWHELMING'

Mr Corbyn drew criticism after a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party last night, 

One MP told PoliticsHome: "Jeremy gave us no strategy, just read out the campaign he plans on doing and then a list of all the policies he's announced in the last few days. It was completely underwhelming"

That contrasted markedly with a "barnstorming" speech from former minister Yvette Cooper, who called on colleagues to fight for every Labour seat.

DEPARTURES

Two of the party's MPs, Tom Blenkinsop and Alan Johnson, have already announced they will not be standing in the upcoming vote, with Mr Blenkinsop citing "irreconcilable differences with the current Labour leadership". 

With the Tories in a commanding poll lead and Mr Corbyn lagging behind Theresa May in personal approval, dozens of Labour MPs may be facing defeat come June. 

However Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, who had been due to stand down at the 2020 election, insisted he would be fighting for his seat.

Elsewhere Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock has said he will stand again, but told constituents he cannot vote for Mr Corbyn to become prime minister. 

He said Mr Corbyn's position on the nuclear deterrent was one of the reasons he could not support him taking power.

"I intend to seek re-nomination from my local Labour and Co-operative parties to be their official candidate," Mr Woodcock said in a video message yesterday.

"But I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain's Prime Minister. I realise that Jeremy has been elected and then re-elected as the leader of my party, but my first duty is to you, my constituents.

"Jeremy's opposition to the Trident renewal programme is lifelong and is well-known. But more than that, I cannot countenance endorsing him for a role which I think even he, although he may say differently in front of the cameras, does not think he is fit to carry out.