Film director Ken Loach has called for Labour MPs who do not support Jeremy Corbyn to be ousted by members.
The man behind ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and ‘Kez’ used a speech at Durham Miners’ Gala to attack the legacies of Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher before calling for Labour MPs who “will not work against” Corbyn.
“The long dark night that began with Thatcher in ’79 may be coming to an end, let’s hope,” Loach told a crowd of around 200,000 at the event.
He went on: “And with it, the memory that followed: Blair and his privatisation and his illegal wars - that is coming to an end.”
Loach said MPs should face mandatory reselection processes as he mapped out how Labour could recover from losing the General Election.
“The closer we get to power, the more vicious the attacks will get and the stronger we will need to be,” he said.
“We have got to stay strong and for that we need a united movement. Now I’m going to be contentious on this day of unity: we need representatives in Parliament that are committed to this programme and will not work against it.
“We need an injection of democracy because most people in trade unions have to be elected and nothing is more perfectly democratic than, when members have served their time in Parliament, they have to be affirmed or reconfirmed by their members.
“Because we cannot have the disgusting attacks that went on against Jeremy in the last Parliament.
“Let’s have an extension of democracy throughout the whole party.”
Loach heaped praise on Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, saying they spoke “simple truths” about healthcare and education during the election which had resonated with voters.
He added the governing body should also face regular elections, before calling on unions to “not only talk left but act left”.
His words come after Gerard Coyne, the senior Unite official who challenged Len McCluskey, who himself shared a platform with Loach at the Gala, was sacked by the party for the misuse of Labour Party data.
Coyne had launched a legal challenge of the close-run result and described his sacking as “a stitch-up in a kangaroo court”.
Loach, whose films have covered a plethora of social campaigns with the explosion of foodbank use coming under scrutiny in ‘I, Daniel Blake’, said: “This Government has used hunger as a weapon.”
At his turn to speak, McCluskey hit out at MPs on the right of the party who had resigned from the cabinet and signed a vote of no confidence in the leader.
He said the election proved “Blairism is finally dead” and he called Momentum, the left-wing campaign group devoted to Corbyn, a “breath of fresh air”.
“No more self-indulgent jaunts from Chuka Umunna and his merry band, seeking to return to their old undermining ways,” said McCluskey.
“Let me say something to them: the massive increases in your majorities in your constituencies weren’t down to your own personal charisma, it was down to Jeremy Corbyn and the manifesto and you should respect that.”
“We are the biggest socialist party in Europe and we need to maintain the momentum and I use the word momentum deliberately.
“Contrary to those who seek to demonise members of Momentum, I welcome them as a breath of fresh air seeking the change needed to create a better Britain.”
He went on: “That was the problem with New Labour, it never challenged the structures of wealth and power in this country.
“Nine years on from the financial crash and they still don’t have no answers or vision to deal with the inequality in our society and we can say without equivocation and very loud and clear: Blairism is finally dead.”