This article is written with a heavy heart for those killed or injured during Wednesday’s terrorist attack at Westminster and for their families. But life and politics go on – and some things do not bear any further delay.
Leeds West Labour MP and diehard Progress member Rachel Reeves is an entrenched opponent of Jeremy Corbyn who announced her refusal to serve on his front bench as soon as he was elected Labour leader in 2015 – not that she had been asked, which speaks volumes.
It appears, however, that she is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to try to undermine not only his leadership but also the very possibility of a left-wing leader in future.
The SKWAWKBOX has learned that Ms Reeves sent a secret email to only some Leeds West members, asking them to support a move to rig the selection of delegates to Labour’s 2017 annual Conference – for the specific purpose of preventing future left-wing leadership candidates.
Or, as she disingenuously terms them, ‘divisive candidates’.
The email below was sent – or meant to be sent – only to members considered right wing. The idea of a Labour MP deliberately cutting out a large part of her membership ought to be astonishing and it’s a woeful indictment of the missing integrity of a large part of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) that it is merely appalling and not surprising.
A snapshot of the original email is shown as an image and the text of the message pasted below it in case anyone has difficulty viewing the image.
From: Rachel Reeves
Date: 13 Mar 2017 15:50
Subject: Election of local delegates to Labour Party Conference
To: Rachel Reeves <Cc:
Are you able to make it to this month’s Leeds West CLP meeting this Thursday (16th March) at the Milford Sports Club in Kirkstall, starting at 7.30pm?
The next big challenge for the party is going to happen at local meetings all over the country with the election of CLP delegates to annual conference.
The hard left want to keep polarising figures in charge of the party after Jeremy Corbyn leaves. This will be through the (John) McDonnell amendment that, if voted upon by conference delegates this year, would mean the threshold of MPs needed to nominate a leadership candidate will be lowered from 15% of the PLP to only 5%.
This would make it easier for divisive candidates to be selected for the leadership race, even in the event that they have been unable to gain the confidence of 95% of their colleagues in Parliament.
Caroline Flint explains it very well and with more detail in this article –
This can be stopped, however, if local labour parties vote to send delegates who will not vote for the McDonnell amendment and instead vote to make sure that important issues like Brexit, the NHS and the economy are discussed at conference.
Leeds West Labour Party meets at the Milford Sports Club, Kirkstall, 7.30pm on Thursday 16th March. If you are able to make it and will support conference delegate candidates who wish to spend more time discussing the issues the public wants us to talk about and not the McDonnell amendment, do let me know. I will be supporting xxx and xxx as our delegates from Leeds West. If you want to talk to either of them directly, please do let me know and I can put you in touch.
It will be great to see you there next Thursday and, as ever, your support is always hugely appreciated by me and everyone else who wants to see Labour elected to government. It will also be appreciated if you can let me know if you can make it either way for numbers.
Best wishes and see you soon,
Leeds West members report that the meeting last Thursday was packed with people who had never been seen at a CLP meeting before – and as a result, the delegate selection was won by right-wing candidates.
The email is both extremely arrogant and intensely insulting. A large part – probably a significant majority – of her members are simply written out of the party: ‘the next big challenge for the party‘ implies that those who want a left-wing leadership candidate in future are not part of the party – and in Leeds West, it’s the left-wing members that raise most funds and do most of the campaigning work.
The use of the tired and misleading ‘wants to see Labour elected‘ trope is both arrogant and insulting. Left-wing members are much more serious about getting elected – unlike the right-wingers, they are not prepared to lose the next election in the hope of bringing down Labour’s leader.
The description of other Labour MPs as ‘divisive candidates’ is also both – and shows a lack of self-awareness that is astonishing, as the divisiveness since Corbyn’s election as leader has been entirely on the part of the likes of Ms Reeves.
The secret Blairite email also underscores the importance of the ‘McDonnell amendment’ to change the nomination threshold for leadership candidates. The SKWAWKBOX has been hammering the importance of this amendment for months and calling on Labour members who support the party’s direction as a genuine alternative to organise, organise, organise to make sure genuine delegates are sent to the party’s Conference.
It is ESSENTIAL that the pro-Corbyn membership recognises the importance of party structures and events such as the conference and harnesses its superior numbers to control them. Otherwise, the right-wing will continue to hinder Labour as a strong, electable party for its own ends – as it did at last year’s Conference to the lasting damage of the party by rigging the NEC (National Executive Committee).
Reeves’ email additionally demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of deputy leader Tom Watson’s attempt to smear the Left by accusing Jon Lansman of a ‘takeover’ attempt on Radio 4 earlier this week – for doing exactly what Reeves did.
Except that Lansman isn’t an MP betraying the majority of his members by cutting them out of the process and attempting to disenfranchise them.
It’s unimaginable that Rachel Reeves is the only Blairite MP behaving in this manner. Similar messages will be going out around the country – and as we saw in Leeds West, if they succeed in blindsiding the left-wing majority that most CLPs now have, the right-wing minority will again succeed in creating a completely unrepresentative delegate make-up and doing huge damage to Labour’s chances of being a party worth electing.
Shame on Rachel Reeves for her contempt for the majority of her members. Shame on us if we allow the tactic to succeed enough to corrupt Labour’s Conference so the right-wingers can damage the party again.
They must not be allowed to succeed – and the only way to counter it is to raise awareness and make sure that the pro-Corbyn majority organises and turns up.
And that needs us – to spread the word and shout about it until everyone is listening.
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