Below are a few paragraphs from an eminently readable – and sensible – article by a 2017 Labour parliamentary candidate on the issue of constituency Labour parties, votes of no confidence, the entitled behaviour of MPs and the Luciana Berger/Wavertree CLP situation.
It’s the best and most balanced take you’re likely to find:
Nearly all members hold it as an article of faith that the ultimate goal is to kick out the Tories, and to install a Labour government, and nearly all of us will swallow personal dislikes, policy disagreements and tone-deaf hymn-singing from the other side of the aisle, in order to elect any Labour MP who is working towards that goal. If that means supporting and campaigning for someone as candidate when you really wanted someone else, then so be it. I was aware in 2017 that some people would have much preferred a different candidate, but those same people still put in a shift to support me in that campaign, and some of them have even been won round to my dubious charm. Well, I like to tell myself that. Don’t disillusion me.
Some members will swallow political views they dislike, as long as the result is more likely to be a Labour government – for many on the left, that describes the entire period between 1997 and 2010. There are many current Labour MPs who are not particularly sympathetic to the politics of either the leadership or members, yet few have faced motions of no confidence, because their members will accept their lukewarm enthusiasm for socialist politics as long as they are seen as working hard to bring about a Labour government.
Some members will swallow opposition to the party leadership as long as that opposition comes from a political perspective with which they have sympathy, which explains why Jeremy Corbyn himself survived the Blair years. It’s also why plenty of MPs who have criticised the leadership’s stance on Brexit have gone unchallenged by members, because most members tend to have sympathy with more pro-Remain views.
Where members tend to draw the line, in my experience, is when a representative is seen as both politically unsympathetic and not helping to obtain a Labour government. If an MP ever crosses a line to be seen as actively helping to prevent a Labour government, then members will almost always move against them. If one looks at those Labour MPs who have faced motions of no confidence – and it is a relatively small number – one finds that it is inevitably the case that they not only have serious political differences with the leadership, but they are seen by members as making a Labour government less likely through their public provision of ammunition to the hostile media and the Tories.