Labour is 'too broad a church', says party chairman

Posted On: 
1st July 2017

Labour is "too broad a church" and MPs who do not work hard enough could be deselected, according to the party's new chairman.

Ian Lavery is one of Jeremy Corbyn's closest allies.
Credit: 
PA Images

In comments likely to anger moderate Labour MPs, Ian Lavery said they had no "divine right" to keep their jobs if local members want them out.

The Wansbeck MP's comments come amid reports that Jeremy Corbyn is planning a radical shake-up of Labour's rules in order to consolidate his power in the wake of the election result.

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Those changes could include giving local constituency parties the right to dump MPs who they do not like.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Mr Lavery said: "We are a broad church. Some might argue, and I would be one of them, that we might be too broad a church.

“Being an MP, I haven’t got the divine right to be an MP for Wansbeck. I’ve got to work very hard on behalf of every single member of that constituency."

He added: "Everything is going to be reviewed. That’s the point I am making.

"You can’t be any more democratic than allowing the people in your constituency to pick who they want as their MP. I think that’s really fair and really important.

"That is the way it is at the minute, by the way, but perhaps we need to look at different ways and means. Listen, if you get de-selected in a constituency there must be a reason for it."

Mr Lavery, who helped run Labour's election campaign, went on: "I think everything has got to be on the table. Every single thing - the whole of the party’s structures - can be improved upon.

“We have got to keep people enthused so the party has got to be more democratic. These are pleasant challenges that everyone should look forward to."

Despite calls from Mr Corbyn for Labour to unite to take on the Government, splits within the party burst into the open this week when 49 MPs rebelled against their leader in a key Brexit vote.

Mr Corbyn responded by sacking three of his shadow ministers, while another stood down in protest at the party's position on membership of the EU single market.