Chuka Umunna telling Corbyn to ‘call off the dogs’ stinks of hypocrisy

With the moderates in the Labour Party continuing their rebellion, Chuka Umunna, who has acted as one of the lynchpins, has told Jeremy Corbyn to ‘call off the dogs’. This came just a day after Tony Blair said that the party could ‘never be taken back’ by his ilk.

Yet the issue for Umunna is that everything he says nowadays when it comes to the party stinks of hypocrisy. On Twitter, he said “Was Labour founded to fight for working people or attack excellent MPs”, naming the recently deselected Joan Ryan as an example of what he presumably feels is a ‘witch hunt’. So its okay for him to attack anyone who’s even slightly more left-leaning than him, and for him to demonise the leadership, but when his friends are beyond criticism.

And this is the issue with the so-called ‘moderates’ in the Labour Party. Streeting, Hodge, Ryan and Umunna himself are just a few of the examples of these MPs who are committed not to getting in a Corbyn-led Labour government, but to effectively enable the Conservatives and stop Labour winning.

It’s perhaps interesting then that Umunna says the priority for Labour should be to fight Brexit. But surely a Labour ‘Soft’ Brexit is better than a Tory ‘Hard Brexit’, or heaven forbid a ‘no deal scenario’. Umunna’s protests are completely counterproductive. Doing fancy speeches for ‘Progress’, the right-wing Labour pressure group isn’t going to get you the Brexit that you want, neither is focusing all of your politics on attacking the only people capable of bringing down the Conservatives and stopping said Brexit. Corbyn may not be the most appetising for many, but he IS the only option to defeat the Tories, whether Ummuna likes it or not

With deselections looming for many more moderates, surely they must realise that the membership are upset by their actions? While these deselections serve Chuka’s case well, he can hardly argue that some of them are underserved. There is no doubt that Labour is a broad church. However, when MPs are actively working against the party, undermining the leadership and enabling the Tories, why should they be allowed to continue representing it?

I myself disagree with deselections, instead favouring Open Selection, championed by Momentum, where CLP’s can vote whether to allow the sitting MP to continue, or vote them out after each term. This is the way the party should go, making the whole process as open and democratic as possible. In fact, it will serve to improve the party as it may force MPs to work harder to keep their job.

And to assume that ‘all the moderates’ would be gone is wrong. For that to happen, you would have to presume that all of the moderate MPs CLP’s dislike them strongly, which as shown by the narrow 94-92 vote of no confidence in Joan Ryan, is most likely not the case. Being an MP should not be a job that is taken for granted, as it is by many MPs nowadays.

Chuka Umunna must embrace the party in its current form if he is to continue representing it. As he continues his threats to break away and fund a centrist party (for which there is no appetite), many feel he should go ahead and do it. A centrist party that nobody wants, funded by multi-billionaires who nobody like, and represented by politicians nobody respects, would do only one thing. Help the Tories. While it would take votes off them most likely, it would take far more off Labour. This new party would enable the Tories to do whatever they want with the country. Hard Brexit? It’d be easy for them. Austerity? Expect it to continue forever. No matter what, the whole concept of a new centrist party is not only flawed, it is counterproductive.

Umunna is a clever man, and a good politician who represents his supporters well. But the fact that he doesn’t realise that people don’t want a new centrist party baffles many. The failure of the Liberal Democrats to make any impact on the political atmosphere since the coalition shows how little people want a new party representing the middle ground.

Labour is still not quite there, a mess in many ways but a mess orchestrated by those opposed to Corbyn. The Mainstream Media’s smears have worked incredibly well for the centrist MPs within the party and its without a doubt that we haven’t heard the last of the ‘Progress’ politicians but the hypocritical campaign of the likes of Chuka Umunna and his friends only does one thing, help the Tories.

Chris Leslie MP loses vote of no confidence in Mapperley Labour Party

A local Labour branch has passed a motion of no confidence in Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East.

Chris is the 3rd MP to lose a vote of no confidence this week with Joan Ryan and Gavin Shuker also losing votes on Thursday night.

The MP who is considered on the right of the Labour Party attacked party members stating that the party had become infiltrated by the “intolerant hard left”.

A wider vote will now be held with the whole of the Nottingham East Labour members which may contain similar demands to the motions passed against other Labour rebels like Frank Field and Kate Hoey.

Leslie has served the constituency since 2010 and has an extremely safe seat with a majority of 19,590, but has come into conflict with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In June 2018 Leslie published a pamphlet through the Social Market Foundation, where he is a member of the Policy Advisory Board,[13]entitled Centre Ground: Six Values of Mainstream Britain. This was seen by many as an attempt to lay the groundwork for a new centrist party.

Labour member Steve Jansky was at the meeting, and voted in favour of the vote of no confidence, he said:

“Chris is one of those people who doesn’t support the leadership, against the wishes of the membership, who voted for him (Jeremy Corbyn) twice, overwhelmingly. He (Mr Leslie) seems to be on speed dial with the BBC whenever they want a negative view of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s all about democracy. The MP should reflect the views of the party and the local membership.

A vote of no confidence is now expected to be held on the MP by Labour party members from across his constituency. If he lost, he would not be obliged to stand down as an MP.

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Blairite MPs dismiss members concerns after losing votes of no confidence

Following Joan Ryan’s loss to a vote of no confidence, Gavin Shuker of Luton South has also lost the confidence of his constituency. Despite the votes, both Ryan and Shuker have told their local party members that they will not quit.

Ryan lost 94-92, Shuker lost by a significant margin, 33-3.

The motion against Joan Ryan could see her suspended from the whip and mean that Enfield North CLP uses Open Selection to select its next Parliamentary candidate.

Ryan went on to say that:

Shuker responded by saying:

‘I’m really sorry a handful of people in the Labour Party want to overturn your vote of confidence in me last year. Their actions say far less about me – and you – than they do about the face of today’s party. I’ve not changed, but the Labour Party has.’

Both  MPs seemed keen to blame the membership and it’s more open left-wing stance for their loss.

A senior Labour figure said to TPN,

‘At long last the grassroots are taking control of their party. They’re not going to continue putting up with the likes of Joan Ryan and Gavin Shuker riding roughshod over democracy. The Labour Party belongs to its members not a handful of out-of-touch privileged parliamentarians who have been strutting around with a sense of entitlement for too long’.

Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief

If anyone was expecting humility and reflection in defeat it hasn’t happened. Whilst Shuker did show more restraint than Ryan both MPs openly attacked people who gave up their time to get them elected, not a wise strategy. A strategy that could see other moderates lacking the canvassers that Corbyn has brought into the party that they need to get themselves elected.

The Labour Party is not full of communists or Trotskyists, and attempts to paint members as far left is a sign of why many members feel Ryan is not fit to serve the party. It’s a Tory propaganda line based on complete nonsense.

What action the national party will take be extremely interesting, with local parties asking for both Ryan and Hoey to have whips suspended and to make changes to how the next parliamentary candidate the leadership face a dilemma over to side with its members or its old establishment. I do not expect Labour to suspend the whip on Ryan.

Blairite MP Joan Ryan loses vote of no confidence in North Enfiled CLP

Tonight Joan Ryan has lost a vote of no confidence vote tabled by her local party. She lost by 95-92.  The no-confidence vote is similar to those faced by MPs Hoey and Field, seeking the removal of the whip from Ryan and an open selection process to select their Parliamentary candidate before the next election. It is unclear if this motion would bar her from standing in the open selection for North Enfield’s Parliamentary candidate.

Ryan drew criticism for her public attacks on Corbyn during Labour’s antisemitism scandal, falsely accusing another Labour member of antisemitism and for statements of support towards Theresa May prior to the 2017 General election. Ryan is also chair of LFI.

She also came under criticism during the expenses scandal when it was revealed she claimed £173,691 in expenses for the 2006/2007 tax year.

The local party supporters, as well as large swathes of Labour’s grassroots, say that she does not represent them or their views.

Her supporters prior to tonight attempted to stop the vote occurring but these proved futile. Ryan told the Evening Standard that the vote was a ‘distraction’.

Her supporters used aggressive tactics outside the venue, calling her opponents antisemites and waving Israeli flags but in a very full Labour meeting, the MP lost the vote which was very close.

Following the results Joan Ryan tweeted:

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Government scraps tax cut for the self employed

The government has scrapped plans to give 2.7 million self-employed workers a tax cut

It said Class II National Insurance contributions would not now be abolished in this Parliament.

The Federation of Small Businesses said it was “extremely disappointing and flies in the face of tax simplification”.

The Shadow Chancellor tweeted:

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Proposed seat boundaries mean Labour would need 11pt lead for a majority whilst Tories would need 2pt

It has been revealed by Election Maps UK that the new constituency boundaries proposed would give the Conservatives a huge advantage in elections. The Conservatives would need a 2pt lead over Labour in vote share to achieve a majority but Labour would need an 11pt lead over the Conservatives to do likewise. The calculations were made by Electoral Maps UK.

 

As detailed by TPN formerly, under proposed boundaries, if both parties achieved 40% of the vote the Conservatives would have a 40 seat lead.

This shows that the supposedly independent boundary commissions have gerrymandered the constituencies in favour of the Tories. The boundaries are changing because the Conservatives want to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600 seats, they also want to make constituency population sizes fairer.

The proposed changes no longer negatively impact the DUP so could be voted through by Parliament but it is reported that Peter Bone has 10 Tories who will vote against it, enough to defeat the government.

A victory for the government would pretty much rule out a majority Labour government, the last person to win by 11pts was Blair in 1997, his huge lead gave him 418 seats. It would be a huge win for the Tories, and those campaigning against the ‘First past the post’ election system.

The Boundary Commission has yet to release the full report but this initial data shows that they would need to seriously reconsider as the changes clearly amount to gerrymandering on behalf of the government.

It is worth noting the current boundaries already favour the Conservatives- with the party being overrepresented by 6.4% in the Commons. Labour are overrepresented by only 0.3%. Such a distortion arises from the system of First Past the Post favouring the larger parties.

Simply it’s a perversion of democracy. Anyone claiming the boundary commission is independent needs to realise that no independent credible organisation could suggest such changes. If they are biased they need to be replaced, if these changes are due to a mistake on their behalf they need to go back to the drawing board.

I encourage readers to act to stop this, contact your MP and tell them to vote against any changes to the boundaries of constituencies that act to gerrymander our elections. 

Labour adopts full IHRA antisemitism definition

Labour’s ruling body the NEC have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. They will also issue a statement emphasising the right to free speech when discussing Middle Eastern politics.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The NEC has today adopted all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism, in addition to the IHRA definition which Labour adopted in 2016, alongside a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.”

Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson said “I hope that is the start of the journey to rebuilding trust”.

Comment from Henry Jones, Director of Communications

The previous weeks have seen one of the most aggressive anti-Corbyn campaigns of his career. Indeed the media smear against him has often been centred around the IHRA definition. I fundamentally do not believe Mr Corbyn is an anti-semite, however I grew increasingly frustrated by how this question was detracting from his policies.

Many Labour supporters will see this as a poor decision. Whilst that may be the case, I hope the move will allow Labour to get back to focusing on holding the government to account.

The anti-semitsism debacle has been a distraction from Brexit, and the many Tory failings we consistently report on. Corbyn is no anti-semite, but many people on the right incorrectly thought he was. I hope this news corrects their misconceptions.

This is a breaking news story, and will be updated in due course.

Momentum candidates sweep Labour NEC elections

Candidates backed by Momentum have swept the board in the latest round of elections to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee.

The slate, also backed by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), held off a bid by Ann Black to retain her place. Black was dropped by the left-wing slate following her vote in support of a £25 fee for supporters wishing to vote in the 2016 leadership election.

The campaign has been bitter at times, with video emerging of Pete Willsman, Secretary of CLPD labelling some behind the claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party as “Trump fanatics” and saying that he had never seen any evidence during his time in the party.

Momentum dropped Willsman from the slate in the aftermath of the leaked recording, but at the Jewish Labour Movement Conference this weekend Jon Lansman confirmed he has voted for Willsman in the election.

Comedian Eddie Izzard, who has been sitting on the NEC since the resignation of long-time Corbyn ally Christine Shawcroft, failed to retain his seat, despite standing as an independent.

The new NEC will meet for the first time tomorrow, where a decision on the adoption of the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is expected.

RESULTS (9 to elect)
DAR, Yasmine 88,176 ELECTED
WEBBE, Claudia 83,797 ELECTED
LANSMAN, Jon 83,072 ELECTED
GARNHAM, Rachel 81,702 ELECTED
ELMI, Huda 80,371 ELECTED
WILLIAMS, Darren 79,361 ELECTED
HENDERSON, Ann 79,176 ELECTED
MISHRA, Navendu 75,224 ELECTED
WILLSMAN, Peter 70,321 ELECTED
IZZARD, Eddie 67,819
BAXTER, Johanna 50,185
SINGH JOSAN, Gurinder 48,643
BLACK, Ann 45,566
BECKETT, Jasmin 43,955
PETO, Heather 43,774
AKEHURST, Luke 43,156
CAZIMOGLU, Eda 40,807
WIMBURY, Mary 40,507
BANES, Lisa 37,993
MASTERS, Marianna 35,061
FLETCHER, Jonathan 15,303
GUY, Stephen 14,985
MORRISON, Nicola 10,671
CRAIGIE, James 10,326
SPEDDING, Gary 9,854
STANNERS, Stephen 8,909

Labour NEC results delayed amid reports of Momentum sweep

The hotly anticipated results of the latest round of elections to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee have been twice delayed this afternoon, amid report that Momentum-backed candidates have swept the board.

Results were originally expected at noon, then 2pm before finally being delayed until 8pm this evening. The cause for the delay is not known, though it is possible that Labour is keen to avoid any possible negative news coverage of the result.

It is thought that Jeremy Corbyn allies will take all nine spaces voted for my Labour members. That would mean Pete Willsman holds on despite a leaked recording of him discussing anti-Semitism at a previous meeting. It would also mean Eddie Izzard, who has been on the NEC since Christina Shawcroft resigned earlier this year, would have failed to cling on.

Ann Black looks set to miss out, despite receiving nominations from nearly 200 CLPs and being backed by Open Labour. Black was dropped from the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) following votes amind the leadership election of 2016.

The CLGA, made up of Momentum, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Labour Representation Committee and many others, was split over Willsman in the light of the recordings. Momentum dropped him from their slate, though Jon Lansman said this weekend he had voted for him. Other groups and some Corbyn supporting MPs continued to urge members to back the full slate.

The announcement will be made just hours before the new NEC meets to discuss the IHRA definition on anti-Semitism and whether Labour should adopt it in full.

Israel’s Arab MPs back Corbyn in antisemitism row

A political alliance of four Arab-dominated parties in Israel’s parliament have spoken out in support of Jeremy Corbyn. In a letter to the Guardian on behalf of all 13 members of the Knesset who are part of the Joint List, the Knesset members said they commended the Labour leader for

“his long-standing solidarity with all oppressed peoples around the world, including his unflinching support for the Palestinian people”.

“We stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and we recognise him as a principled leftist leader who aspires for peace and justice and is opposed to all forms of racism, whether directed at Jews, Palestinians, or any other group.”

The letter is hugely contrasting to opinions expressed by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and stands as the first wave of support from inside Israel during Labour’s antisemitism scandal. The Israeli Labor Party cut ties with Corbyn over the handling of antisemitism.

The MPs attacked opponents of Corbyn and claimed they ignored the struggles of Palestinians:

Incredibly, instead of taking that government to task for its unadulterated racism, the British political class ignores the Palestinian historical plight, and attacks and abuses the British and European leader who vocally supports the Palestinian cause of peace and equality.

They also voiced their opposition to many who want to push Labour to use the IRHA’s definition for antisemitism

When some try to force the Labour party into using as its litmus test a definition of antisemitism that goes far beyond anti-Jewish animus to include anti-Zionism, we must raise our voices and decry these efforts.

The letter continued to say that attacks on Corbyn’s stance were attacks on Palestinian rights

With the Netanyahu government ramping up the racism, our struggle for survival is more precarious than ever. But while we focus locally, defending what’s left of our ever-diminishing rights, we feel that we must speak out now and register our repugnance at these recent attempts to complete our erasure, by forbidding within the UK Labour party any mention by name of the forces allayed against the Palestinian cause.

The letter states every reason that the Labour grassroots, historic supporters of Palestinian rights, have stated when resisting the criticism of Corbyn. Many members say the criticism is a smear designed to weaken Labour electorally and silence activists who criticise the Israeli government.

The way the media reports these comments in contrast to how they reported on the comments of Lord Jonathan Sacks, who criticised Corbyn’s comments about Zionists.

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