Democracy is making its presence felt in the Leicester West Constituency Labour Party (CLP), and local Labour MP Liz Kendall is not too happy about it.
Earlier today the Leicester Mercury (May 17) reported that at Kendall’s most recent CLP meeting, her constituents passed a motion (with overwhelming support) that highlighted Jeremy Corbyn’s longstanding commitment to fighting racism and anti-semitism. The thriving CLP — whose membership has surged from 285 to nearly 800 in the time since Corbyn has served as Labour’s leader — thus agreed to send a letter to Corbyn thanking him for his dedication to fighting for justice and politely requested that their MP follow suit.
As a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel and a non-supporter of Corbyn’s advocacy of socialism, Kendall, as one might expect, was not best pleased with the latest democratic decision that was adopted by the members of her own CLP. She therefore made it absolutely clear to the Mercury that she would be ignoring the positive example being set by her own Labour branch. She apparently views herself as an undemocratic representative, only answerable to herself!?
So, no doubt warmonger-Kendall was also incensed by a second motion passed at the same CLP meeting, whereby members unanimously “voted to support the Labour shadow cabinet’s opposition to the recent British, American and French bombing of President Assad’s chemical weapons facilities in Syria.” (May 17, Mercury)
On the small matter of internal Labour Party democracy we should note that the rules are clear that only delegates are allowed to speak to such motions. Kendall, however, in days gone by admits that she regularly broke such rules. Moaning to the media she said: “I was extremely disappointed not to be given the chance to speak about these important motions, unlike at every previous meeting.” (May 17, Mercury)
But let’s not feel too sorry for Kendall as she has used many public opportunities (on television and in Parliament) to undermine Corbyn on these issues (and on many others), and the members of her CLP are already well aware of her political views with regards to her ongoing efforts to drag the Labour Party’s reputation through the mud.
Furthermore, it appears that Kendall’s efforts to break Labour rules were hindered by the surprise resignation of one of her strongest allies in the Leicester West CLP — the chair of the branch, Cllr Vi Dempster.
Dempster it seems had chosen the inopportune time to resign as branch chair at the beginning of the meeting. And one can only imagine that when Dempster said she resigned because she was now too busy to continue in this role (“I’ve got a lot on,” she told the Mercury) we can interpret this as meaning she was frustrated by the ongoing attempts by an increasing number of Leicester West Labour Party members to ensure that her CLP was now run democratically, instead of like a Blairite fiefdom. Good riddance is all I can say.
So, in closing let’s hope that more Labour branches from across Leicester and across the rest of the country choose to follow the positive lead that is now being made in Leicester West, and keep pressing hard for more democratic accountable from their political representatives.
And if political representatives continue to ignore the democratic requests of their CLPs, then surely, such MPs should do the right thing and resign so they can think about finding gainful employment elsewhere. And if they won’t resign, then the introduction of mandatory reselection of all MPs should facilitate the selection of Labour MPs who are more responsive to the needs of the ordinary members of the Labour Party, not just to the needs of fat cat elites.