“This has been a political lynching of a decent man – undermined, humiliated, attacked, all in order to push him out. And here is the truth: the coup has failed, Jeremy Corbyn is made of stronger stuff; he is a man of steel and he has made it clear that he will not step down.” – Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite (July 3, 2016, speaking on The Andrew Marr Show)
In response to the ongoing attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, local Momentum activist Chris Allen succeeded in quickly organising a protest on Monday night in Corbyn’s defence by the Clock Tower, which was attended by around 60 people — a brilliant effort at very short notice.
On Friday night, Labour members in Leicester West then had their first opportunity to question Liz Kendall about whether she supported the vote of no confidence in Corbyn – something that is considered likely given her fondness for Blairite politics.
Shortly after the end of this emergency constituency meeting, Chris Allen reported on the public Facebook group of “Leicester & Shire Momentum”: “Good showing and points raised this evening at Leicester west meeting.” Indeed, a positive sounding report, albeit brief, that gave me hope that there had been a discussion of the vote of no confidence.
I say this because another Leicester West Labour Party member (Pete Kenny) had noted earlier on the same Facebook page that, at late notice, he had submitted a motion for debate that said: “This CLP deplores the manner in which some members of the PLP have sought to remove the leader of our party without following the due process of an electoral challenge.”
This motion had reportedly been passed on local CLP chair, Vi Dempster. However, the day before the meeting Mr Kenny pointed out that he had received an email from his local Labour Party “saying that as there weren’t any motions there’d be no voting.”
Unfortunately it seems that this important motion was not discussed, and a vital opportunity was missed for the Leicester West CLP to throw their official support behind Corbyn. Another Labour Party member (Peter Flack) reported:
“I gather that at Leicester West CLP last night the chair of the meeting refused to allow debate of a resolution condemning Liz Kendall for expressing no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn and condemning the actions of the MPs who plotted to remove him as leader. Perhaps they were aware that in Stoke on Trent the Central CLP passed two motions. One supporting Jeremy Corbyn, the other expressing no confidence in local MP Tristram Hunt. Both were unanimous. Now we await Leicester South CLP on Thursday 14th where a motion supporting Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has been tabled and, I gather, has very wide support.”
The news about Leicester South, which is the constituency of Shadow Cabinet member Jon Ashworth, is good news, but not all that surprising considering that Labour members in Leicester South CLP had voted to back Corbyn in the leadership race last year.
Nevertheless it is a shame that local Labour councillors and MPs have, so far, refused to publicly come out in support of Corbyn.
Thankfully this shyness to defend democracy may soon change, as former Labour councillor, Mary Draycott MBE, published a letter in the Leicester Mercury this weekend titled “Councillors have no say on Corbyn.” She took offence at local Leicester councillors publicly stating in a letter to Corbyn that he should resign, and who are bringing the Labour Party “in to disrepute.”
“The Labour Party members in the East Midlands must be in the thousands, yet these 101 members feel the need to publicly support those MPs who have decided to ignore the views of the majority…
“As a Labour Party member of 40 years, I believe those who refuse to accept last year’s decision to elect Mr Corbyn as Party leader are not showing disloyalty to him, but rather a sign of contempt to those ordinary members who did not vote for him to be our leader…
“These signatories to the letter and Mr Soulsby should instead be taking on this divisive Government, rather than trying to cause a serious rift in our great Labour Party.”