DESELECTION BATTLE! – due at Labour Party Conference

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John McDonnell was the moving force behind last July’s ‘Tories Out!’ march on Parliament
John McDonnell was the moving force behind last July’s ‘Tories Out!’ march on Parliament

THE LABOUR Party Conference in Liverpool next week is set to battle over the mandatory reselection of MPs.

If it is agreed it will be easier for Labour members to deselect and replace sitting right wing MPs, according to Corbyn-backing Labour MP for Derby North, Chris Williamson. At present, Labour MPs only face an open selection process if a majority of local ward and union branches affiliated to their local party fail to support them in ‘trigger ballots’, which happen in advance of elections.

Williamson, who is carrying out a ‘democracy roadshow’ tour of Labour constituencies round the country, told a meeting in Barnsley that he expects the plans to be voted through. Williamson said: ‘I think that Unite are likely to support it and some of the smaller unions will definitely support it – the FBU, Aslef and the CWU. ‘So I think we will get this through and I think that it will have a hugely democratising effect on our party.’

Momentum says a petition in support of ‘open selections’ has passed 10,000 signatures. Laura Parker, Momentum’s national co-ordinator, said: ‘Nearly 10,000 signatures in less than four days shows the desire Labour members have for overhauling our outdated rulebook and opening up the process of how we choose our MPs to give a fair chance to all candidates.

‘We must open the door to a new generation of MPs, end the jobs-for-life culture and allow those who have been organising in their communities for years the chance to also represent them in Westminster.’

Meanwhile, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, speaking at a rally to mark the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers outside the Royal Exchange building in London on Saturday, said a Labour government will ‘crack down on legal tax avoidance’. He said: ‘In the last general election people accused me of having a magic money tree. ‘Well, I’ve found it – it’s in the Cayman Islands. We’re going to dig it up and bring it here.’

He warned: ‘We are not going to be ripped off any more – ripped off by speculation, privatisation, job cuts and exploitation of workers. ‘I’m worried that the City of London isn’t listening and what we have is a system whereby the productive elements of the economy that are creating wealth is being diverted into property speculation and not addressing the real need and the fundamentals of our economy.

‘We’re facing the fourth industrial revolution and we’ve got the lowest investment in robots in the G7, and we’re still not investing in the schools we need. ‘We need to harness the resources of the finance sector in this country to make sure it’s invested in long-term, patient, stable investment, and I’m not seeing that happen.’ He said among his biggest concerns for Britain’s future are household debt and the fact that wages are still below the level they were in 2010.