Momentum: We will not call for pro-airstrike Labour MPs to be ousted

Posted On: 
3rd December 2015

Momentum has insisted it "strongly disapproves" of bullying and will not call for Labour MPs who voted in favour of airstrikes to be de-selected.

The group, which was set up to harness the support gained during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership bid​, was urging its members to lobby their MPs against supporting military action in Syria.

But some 66 Labour MPs defied their leader to support the Government’s call for military action against Isil targets in the country.

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Ahead of last night's vote, reports emerged that some Labour MPs were facing sustained pressure from local party members to oppose the Government’s motion calling for military action.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, said he received a photograph of a dead baby from anti-war protestors in an attempt to warn him off voting for intervention.

Ann Coffey, the MP for Stockport since 1992, said she was sent messages from an email account previously used by Momentum calling her a "warmonger" and a "red-Tory" and warning that she would have "blood on her hands" if she supported bombing.

Activists also reportedly protested outside Labour MP Stella Creasy’s Walthamstow constituency office and have since called for the Labour MP to face deselection.

In a statement, Momentum said that though members were “disappointed” that Parliament ratified airstrikes in Syria they would not be campaigning to oust sitting MPs.

The group claimed its supporters had helped convince some Labour MPs to vote against bombing and insisted "it can never be a threat to express your views to your elected representative."

“Momentum strongly disapproves of anyone who engages in abusive behaviour towards MPs or anyone else, and threatening or bullying, whether they are outside the Labour party (as most are) or inside it. We specifically asked our supporters to emulate Jeremy Corbyn, and to keep their messages about the issues and to refrain from any personal attacks," it said in a statement.

“Momentum is not a threat to MPs who voted for bombing. We have made clear that we will not campaign for the deselection of any MP and will not permit any local Momentum groups to do so. The selection of candidates is entirely a matter for local party members and rightly so.”

‘NO PLACE FOR BULLIES’

Yesterday Mr Corbyn warned Labour supporters that that the campaign of abuse against some MPs must stop.

Mr Corbyn wrote on Facebook: “I want to be very clear – there is no place in the Labour Party or from those that support us - for bullying of any sort, from any side of the debate. It flies in the face of everything I believe and everything I stand for.

“Let us – all of us in the Labour Party - focus on building a party that can win in 2020. Let’s do that in a comradely fashion.”

But Wes Streeting, who voted against intervention, told the BBC Mr Corbyn was “in danger of permitting” bullying by failing to clamp down on abuse that he said was “facilitated by Momentum”.