Labour activists get advice on how to dump 'detached' MPs

Written by David Singleton on 25 August 2016 in Diary

A detailed guide has been published by a Labour leftwinger with links to the top of the party.

Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have been advised on how to deselect their local MP in a new pamphlet that is said to be backed by senior figures on the left of the party.

“The task for the Labour left now is to bring about reform, as part of a strategy of democratising Labour from top to bottom,” states the guide by David Osland.

The author is a former news editor of the left-wing magazine Tribune and he sits on the national committee of the Labour Representation Committee, which is chaired by shadow chancellor John McDonnell. He said the guide would "interest Labour and Momentum activists".

Discussing the pamphlet on Facebook, Osland also told friends that it "had the blessing of senior Labour movement figures".

He told Total Politics: "A number of well-known comrades on the Labour left were kind enough to read earlier drafts and make helpful suggestions. But the responsibility for the content is mine alone."

A spokesman for Corbyn declined to comment on whether the Labour leader endorses the pamphlet. The spokesman added that he did not know which senior Labour figures Osland was referring to.

The pamphlet suggests that Labour supporters might wish to dump their local MP because they are "too detached from the opinions and priorities of the Labour-loyal voters who sent him or her to SW1 0AA in the first place".

Or it could be because they are a former special adviser who was "parachuted into a safe Labour heartlands seat during a Blair era by-election".

In particular, the pamphlet suggests that Labour MPs Simon Danczuk and Jess Phillips could be among those vulnerable to deselection.




Advising those looking to get a new face in the Commons, Osland states: "The top priority for the labour movement right now is to secure the election of more Labour MPs at the next general election. We have to avoid infighting where it can at all be avoided…. In some circumstances, you may have no choice."

He adds: "If you do decide to go ahead, the first step is to make sure that you are an individual member of the Labour Party… Moreover, it is important to ensure that those serving on the relevant CLP committees and holding constituency-level office back member-led democracy."

Disgruntled Labour activists are advised to recruit more members to the party and to help to build active branches. "Labour needs deep roots across Britain if it is to secure change. The bonus for you could be that activists are likely to be more keen on having an activist MP," states the author.

In the pamphlet, Osland insists that he is not making a plea for "deselect early, deselect often" or calling for deselection on purely ideological grounds.

He insists: "I make no bones about being a strong — not uncritical — supporter of the current leadership. But the playing field is absolutely level for unreconstructed Blairites, soft lefts and rampant Corbynistas alike."


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