POLITICS

Reselection Of 'Blairite' MPs 'Democratic Right' Of Labour Members, Says Union Leader

Jeremy Corbyn given credit for resignation of Cameron with 'curse of Corbyn'

14/09/2016 01:05 | Updated 14 September 2016
Olivia Harris via Getty Images
Jeremy Corbyn gives a thumbs up to the crowd at a #KeepCorbyn event at the Brighton Dome

The majority of Labour MPs are “tied to a Blairite capitalist agenda” and it is the “democratic right” of party members to deselect them if they want, a pro-Jeremy Corbyn union leader has said.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of supporters at a ‘Keep Corbyn’ rally in Brighton were also told there was a “curse of Corbyn” around the Labour leader which hurt his enemies and was responsible for forcing David Cameron to resign.

Janice Godrich, the president of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) union, said the Labour leadership contest was “between anti-austerity socialists like Jeremy and John [McDonnell] and the bulk of Labour MP who are tied to the Blairite pro-capitalist agenda on which their careers have been built”.

“I remember a time when the reselection of MPs was regarded for what it actually is - a basic democratic right,” Godrich said.

“It is a clear sign of a sense of entitlement that characterises those right-wing Labour MPs ... that they scream victimisation at the very mention of reselection.”

Corbyn will find out on September 24 whether he has seen off the leadership challenge from former shadow cabinet minister Owen Smith.

Yesterday the Boundary Commission revealed its plans to redraw the electoral map - a process which will see the number of seats cut from 650 to 600 leaving many MPs forced to fight each other to remain in parliament.

On member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) said the changes were an opportunity for party members to deselect MPs who had shown “disloyalty” to Corbyn and replace them with more loyal candidates.

Labour MPs opposed to Corbyn’s leadership have complained allies of the Labour leader are using the threat of reselection to try and silence criticism.

Lynne Cameron/PA Archive
Janice Godrich, the national president of the PCS union, criticised 'Blairite' MPs

Labour MPs were also attacked by Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), who told the rally the party membership had to “make sure we start holding people to account” as Labour should be a “democratic party”.

He added: “These Labour MPs in parliament who seem to think they have a veto over the hundreds of thousands who voted in that [2015 leadership] election, they talk about one person one vote, but they say, ‘your vote’s only worth that, I’m an MP, I trump whatever decision you make’, and they think they know better than all the rest of us.”

Dave Ward, the general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), said the surge in party membership to over 500,000 showed Corbyn was “the most popular leader of the Labour Party in its history” and credited him with having caused Cameron’s resignation.

The ‘Curse of Corbyn’

“Everything they throw at him, does he not just get stronger and stronger? And isn’t that what leadership is really about?,” Ward said of Corbyn.

“I call it the curse of Jeremy Corbyn, because everybody who has told him to resign has bloody well resigned themselves. Even Cameron has gone the other day, he’s got rid of him as well.

“I have a message for Theresa May, got rid of Cameron, Jeremy did. And the curse of Corbyn, Theresa May, is going to strike on you, we’re going to get you out and Jeremy will be in No.10.”

Ward added: “I think the membership are going to write the resignation letter of Owen Smith.”

Olivia Harris via Getty Images

Corbyn, who also addressed his supporters, said it was the 36th rally he had done during this leadership campaign. “The attendance is enormous at many of them,” he said.

“It’s pulled a lot of people together, it’s brought young people into politics, it’s brought older people into politics, it’s brought people back into politics who were disillusioned by the Iraq war, disillusioned by austerity, disillusioned by privatisation.”

The Labour leader said when the campaign was over he wanted party members to be “out there campaigning for health, for housing, for jobs, for justice” and to “campaign of the kind of society were there is real opportunity for everybody, not the grotesquely unequal society in which we live.”

The rally was being held as union members gathered in Green MP Caroline Lucas’ Brighton Pavilion constituency on the south coast for the annual TUC conference.

There was loud applause and cheers for the suggestion by one speaker that Labour not stand a candidate against Lucas at the next general election in the interests of a “progressive alliance” against the Conservative Party.

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