Labour MPs & allies lash out at Starmer’s reported plans to revive electoral college in party elections, locking out Corbynistas
Under the current system all Labour members, affiliated supporters and registered supporters, from rank members to members of the shadow cabinet, have exactly the same voting power in party leader elections. The one-member-one-vote (OMOV) system was introduced in 2014 by Ed Miliband, replacing a previous system of electoral college, which represented trade unions, MPs and local Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs).
Keir Starmer will reportedly propose a return to the previous system, ensuring that his eventual successor would not be someone like his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn. The 2015 landslide victory of the left-wing populist politician came as a big surprise to the party establishment and set Labour on a lengthy path of soul-searching for its identity. Corbyn’s 2019 resignation and Starmer’s takeover the next year were a return to the more-centrist approach of Blairism.Also on rt.com Labour Party leader Keir Starmer says invasion of Afghanistan ‘brought stability’ & ‘reduced terrorist threat’
Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) is reportedly to review the proposed reversal on Friday, before the changes are submitted to the party conference next week. The proposal has already proved to be divisive, as many Labour MPs, a large number of them from the left flank of the party, publicly objected to it.
Corbyn himself called the would-be restoration of the electoral college “deeply undemocratic” and urged the party leadership to stop attacking the rights of its rank members and “take the fight to the Tories.”
Removing the current system of electing Labour's leader - again reducing the members' vote to one third, while increasing the vote of MPs to one third - would be deeply undemocratic.It's time to stop attacking Labour members' democratic rights - and take the fight to the Tories— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) September 21, 2021
Nadia Whittome rejected the idea that her vote should be worth thousands of votes of her Nottingham East constituents. Zarah Sultana, who represents Coventry South, branded the reported plan “a cowardly attack on democracy.” Jarrow’s Kate Osborne likewise criticised the proposal, saying she rejected an “hierarchy which places 1 above another.”
As an MP, my vote should be worth the same as any other Labour member's.We're only MPs because members selected us. We must represent the labour movement, not dictate it. A return to the electoral college model for leadership elections would be completely undemocratic.— Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) September 21, 2021
Any attempt by the Labour leadership to return to an electoral college for leadership elections would be a cowardly attack on democracy.It would radically reduce members' say and hand wildly disproportionate power to MPs in Westminster. 1/2— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) September 20, 2021
Going back to an electoral college would be exactly that, a backward step. OMOV is the democratic way to elect the Leader, giving everyone an equal say regardless of who they are/what they do. Every member is of equal value & I reject a hierarchy which places 1 above another.— Kate Osborne MP 💙🌈 (@KateOsborneMP) September 21, 2021
Some people on the side of trade unions were not thrilled about the reform either. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham described it as “unfair, undemocratic and a backwards step for our party” in an email to Labour MPs.
Labour Mayor of the North of Tyne Jamie Driscoll warned that if it comes into force, the party will be punished at the ballot box in the general elections.
The party adopted the electoral college in 1981, replacing an earlier system, under which MPs elected party leaders directly in a secret ballot. Under the current system, they have a degree of gatekeeping power, since nominees need to secure support from a certain percentage of the Parliamentary Labour Party to see their name on the ballot.Also on rt.com Labour MP rallies support after ‘trans activists’ allegedly scare her away from attending party conference
Ironically, Corbyn made it through this screening process in 2015 because some of his fellow legislators sought to “broaden the debate” rather than wanted to see him as the next party leader. Ex-adviser to Tony Blair John McTernan called such MPs “morons,” a title that Margaret Beckett, the incumbent chair of the national executive committee, publicly accepted at the time.
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