Jeremy Corbyn has secured an important internal Labour victory after three of his allies were elected to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on Monday.
The left-wing candidates Jon Lansman, Yasmine Dar and Rachel Garnham easily secured the three open positions created to give party members representation on the body.
The result tips the balance of the NEC in favour of those who support Corbyn’s leadership and so-called moderates have already warned Lansman against any attempt to deselect MPs who do not back the leader.
Among the defeated candidates to sit on the powerful panel was comedian and Labour activist Eddie Izzard.
Labour NEC result
Lansman, the founder of the grassroots Momentum organisation which helped Corbyn secure victory in the 2016 leadership election, said Labour was “at last” the socialist party he wanted it to be.
“The election of Yasmine, Rachel and I shows there is a hunger among party members for a new, social movement style party that is capable of transforming Britain at every level,” he said.
“This means energising and empowering members to win the next general election. It also means properly resourcing initiatives that help Labour members make a difference in their communities now.”
Lansman, Dar and Garnham were all formally backed by Momentum in the NEC race having gone through an application process open to the group’s members.
The victory follows a clean sweep for Momentum in the 2016 NEC elections and the election of Momentum backed candidates to the 2017 Conference Arrangements Committee.
The defeated candidates Johanna Baxter, Gurinder Singh and Izzard, were supported by Progress, the centirst Labour organisation.
Izzard said: “Thank you to Party members who have voted for me in large numbers. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received from across the Labour Party. Despite not being elected, I’ll continue to do all I can to campaign for an open and welcoming Labour Party and to campaign with fellow Labour activists across the country to help Labour win the next election and put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.
“This election has been an opportunity to talk about some of the important issues facing our Party and country, and I’m proud to have run a positive, energetic campaign with ideas on how to open up politics and give excluded groups in society more of a voice in our Party and country.”
A friend of Izzard said: “He didn’t expect to win. But he’s shown you can make an impact if you rise above the factions. He will give it another go this summer.”
Stephanie Lloyd, the deputy director of Progress, warned Lansman not to use his new position of power to try and “deselect” Labour MPs who did not support Corbyn.
“The result of these NEC elections is no real surprise and we extend our congratulations to those who have been elected. The new establishment has a big responsibility to ensure a broad church Labour Party that can use all the talents of Labour to stop a hard Brexit and win the next election, not focus on internal rules changes,” she said.
“My hope is that Jon Lansman will not try to run the Labour Party like he runs Momentum. As a party we need our focus to be on stopping a Tory hard Brexit, not stopping Labour conference discussing Brexit; we need to replace Tory MPs, not deselect our hard working Labour MPs we already have; and, encouraging young members, not closing down the Momentum youth section.”
Lansman told John Pienaar on Radio 5 live yesterday that the current threshold for the number of MPs needed to nominate a leadership candidate was “too high”.
Corbyn, he said, was “fit and healthy” and not going anywhere soon, but added the rules should be changed.
Many Labour MPs view lowering the threshold with suspicion and see it as a move to help left-wing candidates get onto the ballot.
Lansman told Pienaar: “I would like to see a further lowering of the threshold to make sure that all sections of the party have a candidate that supports the views that they hold.”