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Marginalising Labour MPs Will Do Nothing To Put The Party Back In Government

15/09/2017 08:01
Anthony Devlin via Getty Images

HuffPost's exclusive reveals that the hard-left have a plan B for the 'McDonnell amendment' - Momentum's attempt to flood a future leadership election with between nine and 19 candidates with the support of only a handful of members of parliament. At the 2018 Labour conference they want to scrap the role of MPs altogether in future nominations for the Labour leadership and let candidates on the ballot without the support of a single member of the House of Commons.

This does not just contradict the party's historic commitment to parliamentary socialism and Clause One of the party constitution, but reveals Momentum's real attitude towards 'party democracy': if it goes their way it is the will of conference, if it does not the membership should have the chance to vote and vote again until the leadership gets the answer it wants.
You see this in Labour's fudge on Trident and Brexit. The leadership and Momentum have no respect to the living, breathing delegates who voted - after Jeremy Corbyn became leader - to double down on Labour policy on Britain's independent nuclear defence. Nor do they value the national policy forum, the Clause V meeting or elected trade union leaders who did the same and put it in the manifesto that was so popular with the public. They do not agree, therefore it did not happen or took place only because something untoward occurred.

Labour committed itself to becoming the party of 'Remain' at conference when it resolved that 'unless the final settlement proves to be acceptable then the option of retaining EU membership should be retained'. Yet Labour's manifesto attempted to ride both horses on Britain's future relationship with our biggest trading partner. Jeremy Corbyn made a commitment to 'end freedom of movement' - which makes Ed Miliband's 'controls on immigration' mugs look positively liberal - and promised to rip up the Tory's Brexit white paper. Nowhere in the party's manifesto was Labour's official policy - as agreed on at conference - even acknowledged. Imagine if the same had happened on austerity!

Labour MPs might be unpopular with the Bennites among the membership, but the constant attempts to marginalise the party's representatives on the green benches will turn off the young Corbyn-supporting members that turned out in droves to help them get re-elected. During the general election many of them heard firsthand how much regard the public hold for their MPs - and learned time and time again on the doorstep of their expectance that their MP to act as a champion for their community in parliament. Labour MPs are not gatekeepers, but the vanguard of the Labour movement - they ensure their party is lead by someone that can lead the troops through the lobbies, replace the Tories and, most importantly, run the country.

And while it might not be popular at the moment to defend Labour MPs, it is right and principled. If we do not see them as agents of change, nor will the Tories in the voting lobby, powerful interest groups in their community or employers over reaching in the workplace. The public understand the power they wield in casting their ballots at general elections. They use it wisely and pick people who will fight for them - in the country and, if necessary, within their own party. Attempts to clip their representatives' wings or reduce their role to parliamentary cannon fodder are not just laughable, they will also fatally undermine Labour attempts to win power and implement the policies that enthused so many.

Momentum's relentless focus on changing party rules will do nothing to help Labour change the government.

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