EXCL Senior Labour official criticised after claiming anti-Corbyn MPs 'deserve to be attacked'

Posted On: 
20th September 2017

A top Labour official was criticised after claiming MPs who are disloyal to Jeremy Corbyn "deserve to be attacked".

Labour's NEC meeting was described as "light-hearted" by one source
PA Images

Pete Willsman, secretary of the Labour Campaign for Democracy, made the remark at yesterday's meeting of the party's ruling National Executive Committee.

The veteran left-winger spoke out after condemning "Blairite" Labour MPs for not being supportive enough of the party leader.

Jeremy Corbyn tightens grip on Labour as party reforms hand more power to members

Labour set for rule change clearing the way for left-wing leadership candidates

New plans could see future Labour leaders elected without the support of a single MP

He said: "Some of our MPs deserve to be attacked."

Sources present at the meeting said it was clear that Mr Willsman meant the MPs should be criticised, rather than face physical violence.

But NEC chair Glenis Wilmott told him: "That's not appropriate, one of our MPs was killed." That was a reference to Jo Cox, who was murdered by one of her constituents last year.

Undeterred, PoliticsHome understands that Mr Willsman repeated his comment later on during the six-and-a-half hour meeting.

Elsewhere in the meeting, the NEC backed plans to hand more power to Labour members and make it easier for left-wingers to be leadership candidates.

The meeting also supported tough new measures to crack down on anti-Semitism and racism in the party, while a review into the entire Labour rule book was also launched.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "Jeremy welcomes the decision of the NEC to back expansion of democracy and participation in the party.

"Labour's membership has nearly tripled in the last two years - and the enormous benefits of that were felt at the General Election.

"Our members have the talent, energy and skills to win elections so that we can transform our country for the many not the few."