Labour labelled 'a bunch of pound-shop gangsters'....by Labour MP
John Woodcock launches extraordinary attack on his own party prompting rumours he'll quit
Barrow MP John Woodcock branded his own party "pound-shop gangsters" in a Twitter outburst today prompted by party plans to make his fellow MP Dan Jarvis quit the Commons if he becomes mayor of South Yorkshire.
Jarvis won the race to be the party's nominee for the upcoming mayoral race. However days before he was selected party bigwigs introduced a new rule that anyone elected mayor must give up their seat in the Commons. The likes of Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham stopped being MPs when they became mayor of London and Manchester respectively but they were not obliged to do so. Boris Johnson was an MP during his final year as Mayor of London.
A group of Yorkshire MPs have written to the Labour NEC urging them to change their mind and Woodcock took to Twitter to weigh in with his support. He claimed the selection was being 'nobbled' and wrote: "We are supposed to be the party of Attlee, not a bunch of pound-shop gangsters."
Last month the party's NEC postponed the election for a new chair of the National Policy Forum, the body that sets Labour policy, at the last minute. Critics claimed Corbynites canned the vote because they feared their preferred candidate would lose to veteran activist Ann Black.
Earlier this week Woodcock was involved in angry exchanges in the Commons when he attacked his own party leader. Jeremy Corbyn said in his response to the Prime Minister's latest statement on Russia that he had "been a robust critic of the Russian government for more than 20 years" but Woodcock intervened to insist that was "Just not true" and quoted a Morning Star article by the Labour leader. Corbyn loyalist Chris Williamson was caught on camera gesturing that Woodcock ought to joint the Tory benches. Williamson has previously said he'd be happy if Corbyn critics such as Woodcock "buggered off" and left Labour.
And later in the day there were rumours that Woodcock planned to do just that and resign the Labour whip. However he insisted he has not made any decision about his future within the party.