As Luciana Berger gets bossed by Corbynites, who’s got her back?

Written by David Singleton on 6 July 2017 in Diary
Diary

Momentum activists have seized control of the Labour group in the Liverpool Wavertree constituency.

Labour MP Luciana Berger has been told by her local party to apologise for criticising Jeremy Corbyn.

After a CLP meeting where nine out of ten committee posts were won by members of the pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum, she was also told she needed to "get on board quite quickly now".

The Liverpool Wavertree MP was one of a number of shadow ministers to quit their frontbench roles last year in protest at Corbyn’s continued leadership of the party.

But unlike before the general election, most fellow Labour MPs have been remarkably reluctant to take sides in the latest row.

Those who have publicly supported Berger include two of Corbyn’s fiercest internal parliamentary critics, John Woodcock and Mike Gapes.

Woodcock tweeted: "Luciana Berger a brilliant MP and lovely person. Real Labour people would back her up while she is on mat leave, not try to intimidate her."

And Gapes said: "It's deplorable. Full solidarity with Luciana."

Fellow MP Jess Phillips also slammed the tactics adopted by the Wavertree Corbynites, tweeting: "Obey or else is shameful."

However many Corbyn supporters have taken a different view - including the leader's former press secretary Matt Zarb-Cousin, who is seen as a useful barometer of the way the leadership thinks. He tweeted: "Amazed that, in 2017, some believe the activists who give up their time and money for Labour shouldn't be given a say in who represents them."

The pressure on Berger comes amid mounting speculation that some figures on the left of the party want to change the rules to make it easier for local parties to deselect their MPs.

The Liverpool Echo reported that Roy Bentham, one of those elected to a new position in Wavertree, said of his MP: “She will now have to sit round the table with us the next time she wants to vote for bombing in Syria or to pass a no confidence motion in the leader of the party – she will have to be answerable to us. We would like her to come out publicly like other MPs have done and apologise for not supporting him in the past.”

In response, Berger put out a statement praising "revitalised national party under Jeremy Corbyn" – but not apologising for her previous criticisms.

 

 

 

Picture by: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

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