More than a year since Jeremy Corbyn’s historic election as leader of the Labour Party, the Blairite smears have not abated. Little wonder then that, in the last two weeks alone, two branches have backed motions calling for mandatory reselection of Labour MPs. The groups concerned are Chingford Labour Party and Leyton and Wanstead Labour Party.
Mandatory reselection, abolished under Tony Blair, simply means that for each election that takes place, candidates must be democratically decided by party members. This is not simply about removing MPs, but about restoring democracy to the Labour Party. It is basic democratic accountability.
Trade union general secretaries stand for election every five years and lay union representatives, working hard to represent their members while facing facility time cuts, between one and three years.
Why should an MP be any different?
Predictably, those on the right of the Labour Party recoil in horror when anyone mentions mandatory reselection. Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, described it as an “inherently intolerant mechanism”.
Labour’s pensioner buster Frank Field goes further still:
they [his constituents] are longing to have somebody that they can all boss around as if they have a view… there will be some, of course, that think that they can direct what MPs do, and if they want MPs like that, and have got MPs like that, they deserve them.
Their sense of entitlement for their careers is pathetic.
The Blairites are also hypocrites. Whilst they claim to oppose mandatory reselection, it has not stopped them organising a wholly undemocratic coup against Jeremy Corbyn, who, it seems, is now subjected to yearly mandatory reselection through doomed but divisive leadership challenges.
But the ball is now rolling. Let’s follow the example of Chingford, and Leyton and Wanstead Labour Party and get our local branches to support mandatory reselection.
The following template motion can be used to raise the issue in your branches.
[Name of Labour Party branch] welcomes the reelection of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader as a reflection of the general mood in the Labour Party against austerity.
MPs have not got ‘jobs for life’. They represent their constituency but ultimately they are selected by and accountable to their Constituency Labour Party. To ensure democratic accountability and the rights of party members to select candidates that reflect their views, this branch supports the need for mandatory reselection of Labour MPs in each Parliament as essential.
We call on the [name of Labour Party branch] CLP to support a rule change to the Labour Party rulebook to reintroduce mandatory reselection of MPs before each general election.