Two London Labour MPs rumoured to have been at some risk of deselection have secured strong backing from local party members in constituency ward branch “trigger” ballots.
Vicky Foxcroft, a shadow minister who represents the Lewisham Deptford constituency, wrote on Twitter of her delight at having “won the support of every branch by an overwhelming majority” while Neil Coyle for Bermondsey & Old Southwark tweeted yesterday that he has “won the support of overwhelming number of members’ branches for my re-selection” having already said he’d secured eight out of ten.
Under new rules giving more power to party members and affiliated organisations, a Labour MP must take part in an “open selection” contest against other potential Labour candidates for their seat at the next election if one third or more of the ward branches in their constituency or one third or more of affiliated organisations (most of which are unions) vote to “trigger” such a contest, rather than sending the sitting MP forward to automatically defend his or her seat. Labour List reported on Thursday that Foxcroft has been automatically re-selected and that Coyle was already “unlikely to be triggered”.
In a remark on Twitter, Foxcroft asked Momentum and its Lewisham branch if “perhaps we could now focus on winning a general election?” Lewisham has been a London stronghold of Momentum, the campaign group that supports the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, though some local sources say its influence has lessened of late.
Coyle, who was one the MPs whose nomination enabled Corbyn to take part in the 2015 Labour Party leadership contest, which he won, has been strongly critical of him since. In 2016, he said was prepared to sue Corbyn after his name appeared on a list of Labour MPs accused of having been “abusive” the party leader. In May of this year, following Labour’s poor European election results, Coyle, a strong Remainer, told Politics Home that Corbyn was “part of the problem” and that “Labour would do better with the same domestic policies and almost any other leader”.
Labour List has published a rolling list of all Labour MPs who are now up for re-selection or whose branches have already voted. It shows that London MPs Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington), Dawn Butler (Brent Central), Bambos Charalambous (Enfield Southgate), Corbyn (Islington North), Matthew Pennycook (Greenwich & Woolwich), Keir Starmer (Holborn & St Pancras) and Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury) have either secured re-selection or look set to. Two MP, Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead & Kilburn) and Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) will not face triggers ballots because they are on maternity leave.
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