Another key ally of Jeremy Corbyn has sparked controversy by backing mandatory re-selections for sitting MPs.
Chris Williamson, who reclaimed the Derby North seat on the back of a strong pro-Corbyn message, has said if politicians did not reflect the leader’s stance then local members are entitled to “find someone else who will”.
It is one of the first major interventions by Williamson since he overturned a Tory majority of 41 on June 8.
“MPs need to reflect the political program that is overwhelming supported by Labour members and by Labour supporters,” he told ITV News.
“If people aren’t prepared to do that then it will be up to members in their local constituencies to find someone else who will.”
Williamson was appointed to the front bench yesterday as shadow fire services minister, and he said that the re-selection process could help “concentrate minds” on the Labour benches.
Ian Lavery, the party chair and Corbyn ally who alongside Andrew Gwynne co-ordinated Labour’s election campaign, said last week that Labour has become “too broad a church” and that MPs had to “work very hard” to stay in place. Many took his comments to be a veiled reference to de-selections.
Richard Burgon, another Corbyn supporting MP and shadow justice secretary, distanced himself from Lavery’s comments saying: “I think the Labour Party should be a broad church of socialists, social democrats and trades unionists and long may it continue to be so … I think the Labour Party’s a broad church and it should be.”