POLITICS

Labour MPs Should Face Deselection If They Fail To Back Jeremy Corbyn, Says Shadow Minister

Chris Williamson fires warning shot at right of party.

04/07/2017 09:02 BST | Updated 04/07/2017 12:13 BST

One of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies in parliament has warned Labour MPs they risk deselection if they fail to back his leadership.

Chris Williamson, the MP for Derby North who was appointed shadow fire services minister yesterday, said “MPs need to reflect the political program that is overwhelming supported by Labour members and by Labour supporters”.

He told ITV News: “If people aren’t prepared to do that then it will be up to members in their local constituencies to find someone else who will.”

His comments came after Ian Lavery, the new Labour chairman, risked re-igniting the internal feud between left and right when he said the party was “too broad a church”.

Lavery, a leftwing ally of Corbyn, told HuffPost UK the party MPs must “work very hard” to avoid deselection.

Williamson, whosaid his election as MP for Derby North was a “test case” for Corbynism, was one of 20 MPs given shadow ministerial positions by the Labour leader yesterday.

Lavery, said Williamson’s appointment “is a sign that the days of free market Thatcherism are coming to an end”.

The reshuffle also saw the return of some moderates to the frontbench, including those who quit in advance of the second leadership battle such as Gloria de Piero.