Unite branches showed anger at ‘centrist’ MP
Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray has become the first MP to be triggered, not by local Labour Party members, but by affiliate branches. Labour rules allow both member branches and affiliated branches of unions and socialist societies to trigger a selection if one third of a constituency’s branches vote for it.
Many right-wing MPs have been able to escape being triggered because of their tight hold on member branches. Murray – a member of right-wing pressure group Progress and a participant in the failed ‘chicken coup’ – has become the first to be forced by affiliates to fight to retain his place.
The trigger threshold was reached by votes of Unite union members. A union spokesperson said:
This decision was taken by Unite members following consultation with the relevant committees and branches of the union under our democratic processes.
Our members are clearly concerned that Ian Murray has consistently undermined the Labour leadership in Scotland and at Westminster, and has on occasion attacked our union. No MP is entitled to their seat. It is for Mr Murray to now demonstrate why Unite members in Edinburgh South should return him as their representative.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Murray said:
It is disappointing that in the week where I’m leading the People’s Vote campaign in Scotland and working around the clock to maintain the cross-party coalition that’s defeating Boris Johnson [sic] disastrous Brexit in order to protect workers’ jobs and rights, that this is Unite’s priority. My constituents are my priority and I won’t be distracted from fighting for them.
Murray’s reference to the Blairite-driven ‘People’s vote’ campaign in his response to his potential deselection says it all.
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