Pressure is mounting on Jeremy Corbyn to tackle bullying in the Labour Party after Wirral’s council leader backed Frank Field over “hard-line extremists” and demanded an investigation.
Phil Davies has written to general secretary Jennie Formby saying bullying and intimidation has “gone on far too long” and had repeatedly reduced councillors to tears.
Davies said many activists feel “empathy and sympathy” with Birkenhead MP Field, who resigned the Labour whip on Thursday over anti-Semitism,“nastiness, intimidation and bullying” in the party.
The councillor then compared the party in Merseyside to that of the 1980s, when the Trotskyist group Militant wing of party was dominant.
“We find ourselves back in a place where we never thought we would return – a Labour Party once more at war with itself because of the concerted efforts of a small group of hard-line extremists who want to undermine the democratic mandate of Labour councillors in pursuit of a narrow ideological agenda,” he sai
“Over the last couple of years Wirral has become embroiled in disputes and disagreements which have gone from simmering tension to boiling over into the ‘nastiness, intimidation and bullying’ Frank Field referred to in his resignation letter.
“As Leader of the Labour Group, I have a duty of care to stand up for our members and protect their mental health and wellbeing in the face of these attacks.
“This has gone on for too long.”
Davies added Wallasey Constituency Labour Party was suspended last year amid claims the MP, Angela Eagle was subjected to homophobic abuse
He said a long-standing councillor has also resigned the group whip because of local members’ conduct.
“Our whips are currently investigating intimidation of female party members, reducing them to tears,” he said. “This is a repeat of the tactics used by hard left extremists in the 80s and there is no place for this behaviour in today’s Labour Party.”
HuffPost UK has contact the Labour Party for comment.
Field, who also said that leader Jeremy Corbyn had become “a force for anti-Semitism” in the country in his resignation letter, has said he is weighing up whether to quit and fight a by-election in the Merseyside seat he has held since 1979.
The Independent MP said that if the voters reject his bid for re-election, it would be a “noble way to go”.
Corbyn loyalists rounded on the MP after the news emerged late on Thursday, however, stating that, after Field lost a no-confidence vote in his local party, he had jumped before he was pushed.
Deputy leader Tom Watson, meanwhile, said it was a “wake up call” for Labour, signalling that a split in the party could be imminent.