The Guardian. seemingly still happy to publish a diversion from Labour’s relentless rise in the polls under Corbyn – according to the latest YouGov numbers the party now has an 8% lead over the Tories – has published a story on the Labour parliamentary left’s ‘loss’ to right-wingers in a ‘power struggle’ for a supposedly important ‘Labour Parliamentary Committee’ (LPC):
At least they’re not running with nonsense about ‘intimidation’ of an MP on maternity leave like the right-wing press, who apparently consider a recommendation to get in line to be intimidatory (but calling judges ‘enemies of the people’ etc is apparently fine).
But if you heard about this and were shrugging your shoulders and saying ‘the what committee?’, don’t worry. Hardly anyone’s heard of a committee whose significance even the Guardian’s article couldn’t inflate to more than ‘a weekly meeting with Corbyn‘ and the reality is rather less significant – and more amusing – than it’s being painted.
The SKWAWKBOX spoke today to a number of MPs about the LPC and the comments were revealing.
According to PLP sources:
- the committee was instituted by Tony Blair when he was PM as a sop for left-wing MPs, so he could say he was giving them access and then ignore them
- only back-benchers are eligible for it
- front-bench MPs can’t vote in the selection, so a lot of pro-Corbyn MPs have no say in who’s on it and, as things now stand, right-wingers have an inbuilt advantage in the vote
- left-wing MPs haven’t recently bothered even to stand for it until now
Winning ‘moderates’ polled around 120 votes, with Neil Coyle scraping in with 89 – to the chagrin of even many right-wingers, one of whom was said to have rolled his eyes and commented that things for the so-called centrists ‘must be in a right f***ing state‘.
One source told the SKWAWKBOX that Blair set up the committee as a ‘diversionary cul de sac‘ for troublesome MPs and that it seems to still be serving that function for a number of those selected for it:
It will be no fun for Jeremy having to listen to some of them an extra time a week, but the committee has no powers or status.
A senior source said that some of the ‘winners’ just ‘show the parlous bloody state of the right-wing PLP’, while a third observed that the results showed that the hard-core of anti-Corbyn MPs now numbered only in double figures.
Few people doubt that the PLP’s anti-Corbyn rump will keep trying to cause problems. The continued bleating about the ‘threat’ of deselection is both an attempted disruption and an indication of how worried they are of their exposed position after Labour’s ‘Corbyn surge’ in the recent General Election. Chuka Umunna’s attempted EU-based amendment to the Queen’s Speech is widely considered to be such an attempt. The ‘storm in a teacup’ about one Labour member advising Wavertree MP Luciana Berger to ‘get in line’ is clearly intended to muddy what should be clear water as Labour’s polling lead over the Tories continues to climb:
But the ‘centrist win’ for places a ‘diversionary cul-de-sac’ committee that has no power beyond an hour or two a week bending the leader’s ear is not of the significance that some might be attributing to it.
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