POLITICS

Labour 'Purge' Costs Party Majority On Bristol City Council

20/09/2016 15:35
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images

Labour has lost its majority on Bristol council after it suspended three of its pro-Jeremy Corbyn councillors.

Harriet Bradley, Mike Langley and Hibaq Jama have all had the Labour whip withdrawn and been banned from voting on in the leadership contest.

Corbyn’s campaign has criticised party HQ for conducting a “purge” of his supporters. 

In May, Labour won 37 of the 70 seats on the city’s council. But the suspensions by the means is technically one councillor short of the number needed to form a majority.

The reasons for Langley and Jama’s suspensions have not been made clear. Bradley was reportedly suspended earlier this month for attacking Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee.

Corbyn is expected to be reelected Labour leader on Saturday with a comfortable victory over Owen Smith. And he has said he is keen to offer an olive branch to his MPs after the result.

“As a practical start for this I’m growing an olive tree on the balcony of my office and it’s doing very, very well. It’s thriving,” he said last week.

However The Huffington Post understands the olive tree Corbyn is cultivating on his Commons office balcony was given to him as a gift by Bradley - who has also called for Labour MPs Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey to be deselected and for Labour’s general secretary Iain McNicol to be sacked.

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove who has been targeted for deselection by some activists in his local party, was unconvinced by Corbyn’s peace offering. He said on Sunday the Labour leader was the first person to “an olive branch as a weapon to beat people with”.

The suspension of three Labour councillors in Bristol comes as a Channel 4 Dispatches programme filmed a Momentum organiser claiming the pro-Corbyn movement was “taking over” the party in the city.

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