The author of a book which explains to Labour members how to deselect their local MP has said he expects some sitting MPs will be face being kicked out by their local party.
David Osland, the Jeremy Corbyn supporting author of ‘How to Select or Reselect Your MP’, told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme today he was not advocating MPs who were opposed to the Labour leader be deselected.
However he said there were some cases where Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) may want to choose a new candidate for the 2020 election.
“Where a Labour MP is known to beat his wife it’s possible this CLP may not favor his return, where Labour MPs cross picket lines or repeatedly say they are thinking of resigning the Labour whip,” he said.
Osland said of sitting Labour MPs: “If they can convince their membership they should be reselected, come through the trigger ballot process, there shouldn’t be an issue.” But he added: “In some cases reselections will happen.”
Corbyn has said in the past he would not “interfere” if local Labour Parties tried to dump their existing MP in favour of a new candidate.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna said Osland’s decision to write the book was “kind of like a threat” against MPs that they must fall in line behind Corbyn or lose their seat. “I have never known this kind of atmosphere, whipped up nationally, of threats of intimidation,” he said.
“I have to say, I haven’t really come across many colleagues who are talking about resigning the whip or beating their wives,” he added.
Umunna said the threat of deselection was being made by supporters of Corbyn who wanted MPs to be “ideological pure” in their support for the party leader. “I don’t think we want robots, I think that was one of the problems under New Labour.”
“Jeremy Corbyn is a fantastic example. He has been a backbench MP who has been very, very critical of the leadership under seven leaders,” Umunna said. “He defied the Whip more than 500 times, voted more than 200 times with the Tories. There has never been any serious attempt, that I know of at all, to deselect him.”