Harriet Harman gets told to play nicely as Momentum takes over in Camberwell
The former Labour acting leader has seen left wingers take top posts in her local party.
Left wingers have taken over the ruling body of Harriet Harman’s constituency Labour party and the Daily Mail has seized on the news.
The seat of Camberwell and Peckham has been held for 36 years by Harman, who was a cabinet minister under Tony Blair and went on to be acting leader of the Labour party. But could that all be about to change?
At last week’s annual meeting of the Camberwell and Peckham Labour party, 12 Momentum-backing officers were elected to the 15 posts on the committee, up from just three previously.
In a blog post explaining how they did it, Southwark Momentum convenor Chris Bright states:
“This was the result of patient work carried out since the last AGM in November 2016 saw the right take every position. Our strategy was to set up local networks of Corbyn supporters in each branch, meet up on an informal basis in pubs, coffee shops or people’s homes, push politics onto the agenda at branch meetings by raising motions on contemporary issues and keep as many people as possible in the communications loop by sending out newsletters using the Momentum national database.”
Bright goes on to note that “although some Blair disciples remain… the tide of change in the Labour Party is continuing and Camberwell & Peckham is no longer a Canute-like hold-out”.
There is no suggestion in the blog post that Harman faces an imminent deselection threat. Rather, Bright suggests that Harman could still be ok - if she is willing to play nicely and get behind the leader. Or as the Momentum man puts it:
“We don’t intend to carve out the party right in the way they did to us. Rather, we aim to be genuinely inclusive and transparent and to work with everyone who’s prepared to engage constructively to build the party locally and campaign for a Corbyn Labour government.”
That may not be good enough for one disgruntled local Labour party member who spoke to the Mail about the recent changes. "Momentum have taken over the whole of the party. The people who are not Momentum you can count on one hand," they fumed.