Deselection, deselection, deselection

Recently, the Labour Party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC) has elected 3 new members. In those elections, the more left-wing, momentum backed candidates won all 3 places, by quite a large margin over the other candidates.

This is important in many ways, but currently the most talked about issue is that the victors may push for mandatory reselection of Labour MPs by party members, or ‘deselection’.

What this means is that incumbent Labour MPs would have to still receive the support of Labour members in their constituency to run as the Labour candidate in the next election.

What it would mean in practical purposes is that many of the new more left-wing members could vote out more centrist Labour MPs. While the desire for MPs who are closer to the membership is not a totally unreasonable one, there are some key issues this system could cause.

Firstly, it could reduce the influence of the unions over the Labour Party and selection of MPs. Although Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union, does support mandatory reselection, many other unions, such as Unison, do not. As the unions are traditionally one of the biggest parts of Labour’s support base this would be a major break with the past.

Another issue is the fear that this would be used by the likes of Momentum to enforce ideological purity and remove Corbyn opponents.

Although selecting MPs based on ideology is perfectly reasonable, what is not desirable is infighting amongst Labour activists, nor MPs being positioned as ‘Yes men’ to the leadership.


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November 2021
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