Groups supporting the leadership of Keir Starmer have made big gains at the expense of Momentum activists in elections at the London Labour conference, strengthening their confidence that the party in the capital is leaving the era of Jeremy Corbyn behind.
Candidates backed by the Labour to Win organisation that brings together two groupings that support the Labour leader were elected to 18 out of 23 positions on the board of London’s Labour region and Corbyn loyalists were ejected from the chair and vice-chair positions.
“It’s an amazing turnaround,” said one senior union figure, who regards the results as part of a trend that has recently seen a string of London constituency Labour parties “moving out of Momentum’s clutches” as Corbynites leave the party, lose interest or choose to forsake “sectarian games” and “get with working together to defeat the Tories”.
Nathan Yeowell, the co-director of Labour to Win, told the LabourList website “these results show just how much the Labour Party is changing under Keir Starmer” and stressed that “we’ve got to change the party to have any chance of winning the country at the next election”.
Mike Katz, national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, hailed the new board line-up as overwhelmingly backing what he called “Starmer’s drive to rid Labour of antisemitism and detoxify party culture”.
At the previous conference, held in March 2019, all but one of the elected positions was won by a Momentum-backed candidate, many of them by large majorities. At the borough elections the previous spring, Labour’s overall good results had been marred by the loss of six seats the party had won in 2014 in Momentum-dominated Haringey and the loss of five seats in Barnet, which some local Labour activists attributed to disquiet about Corbyn’s position on antisemitism.
The London region’s new chair is Maggi Ferncombe of Unison – who is also a member of Sadiq Khan’s equality, diversity and inclusion advisory group – and Brent Councillor Shama Tatler and Harrow councillor Dean Gilligan were elected vice-chairs.
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