Labour MPs owe their election victories to Jeremy Corbyn and party members not their own personal campaigning, the chairman of Momentum has said.
Jon Lansman told a meeting on the fringes of the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Sunday afternoon that MPs did not have a special “personal” mandate from voters.
“The massively increased in majorities of people in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), some of whom have been critical of Jeremy Corbyn, was not down to the personal effect of those individual MPs,” he said.
“It was down the manifesto, it was down to the personal role of Jeremy Corbyn and it was down to the efforts of hundreds of thousands of members who participated in that election.”
Lansman was speaking at The World Transformed, the activist conference running alongside the official Labour conference this week organised by the pro-Corbyn Momentum campaign organisation.
He told the meeting that MPs were wrong to think they had “some kind of exclusive position to understand the feelings and interest of people”.
Lansman said studies had shown the “personal” vote of an incumbent Labour or Tory MP amounted on average to just 1.5% of their majority.
The close ally of Corbyn also argued local party members should have the ability to replace their local MP if they wanted, a process known as deselection.
“Members should be involved not just in the policy process but in the selection and reselection of candidates,” he said.
But Lansman said giving members more power over the PLP would in turn give MPs more say over the direction of the party.
“Under Tony Blair MPs were treated like robots who had to articulate the opinions of the leadership,” he said. “I think they will have more influence than they did under Blair.”
Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove, which neighbours the Brighton constituency hosting the conference, recently dismissed the suggestion Corbyn was the reason he increased his majority.
He told a meeting of moderate MPs in parliament earlier this month that MPs were fed of up of having it “rammed down our throats about how Jeremy increased our vote”.
The Hove MP, who has been critical of Corbyn’s leadership of the party, said he and other MPs who defeated Tory challengers needed to be listened to more.