Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger was again involved in controversy recently when the right-wing press claimed that she was in danger from Labour members had to be accompanied by a police protective detail at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.
This turned out not to be correct and Merseyside police confirmed she had no individual special arrangements, although officers had been on hand to help any of a number of people. Ms Berger was accompanied outside the conference perimeter, but had no guards or chaperones within it.
She did not answer the SKWAWKBOX’s enquiry why she had not put the record straight.
Momentum founder Jon Lansman has also been involved in controversy, not least when he and a small subset of Momentum’s National Coordinating Group dropped support for fellow National Executive Committee (NEC) member Peter Willsman during the recent Labour elections to the NEC after a leaked recording was misrepresented by the media as antisemitic.
And now local Labour members in Wavertree claim that Lansman attempted to persuade them not to attempt to remove Luciana Berger when they talked to him recently about their concerns over her political positions.
One member told the SKWAWKBOX:
I’m in Wavertree CLP, my MP is Luciana Berger. I was with [redacted] looking round at conference for MPs to get a picture with when we spotted John Lansman. After I got a picture we started a conversation and it soon moved on to Luciana.
I mentioned how she refuses to talk about issues we think are important and how people in the poorer areas of the constituency complain that they want to talk about mental health issues and are unhappy that she resigned as Shadow Minister for mental health. The conversation soon turned to how we hope to deselect her. Jon really didn’t want that to happen and told us it would cause a lot of problems.
The other who participated in the discussion confirmed these events and added:
Myself and my comrade noticed Lansman sitting having a drink in the coffee area so we approached him. We talked for about 10 minutes and were trying to gauge his reaction/views about what we, as the left caucus in Wavertree who have not affiliated to Momentum, should do about Luciana.
He told us we should not try to go down the deselection route or make any noise as Luciana was “pliable” and that he knew her “of old”. He then dramatically and shockingly offered to “mediate” between us and Berger at a meeting. We politely made our excuses and left.
Jon Lansman was contacted about this meeting but declined to comment. He did not deny that the conversation took place.
In the run-up to Labour’s conference in Liverpool, Momentum campaigned strongly for ‘open selection’ – a process that would require every MP to compete for members’ approval for his or her continued candidacy before every general election.
However, it now appears that during the conference the organisation’s founder attempted to persuade members not to attempt to deselect their MP, in spite of their dissatisfaction with her performance on a number of issues – and even offered to personally mediate to avoid her deselection.
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