Russell-Moyle asks local members: “Do you have confidence in me?”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, wants to restand as a parliamentary candidate at the next general election – but he has asked local members for their views on his candidacy first.

On Monday, all Labour MPs were given two weeks to let the party know whether they wish to be a Labour candidate again. Each parliamentarian was given a deadline of July 8th for returning their completed form.

Under the trigger ballot system, MPs need the support of at least two thirds of their local party branches or affiliated branches to be automatically reselected. If more than one third of either type of branch indicates that they wish a full selection to take place, an open process will follow.

MPs who were imposed at the last election by Labour’s ruling body, the national executive committee, are deemed particularly ‘vulnerable’. It is expected for the argument to be made by activists in many places that local members should have a say and an open selection should take place on principle.

Russell-Moyle, who was himself imposed by the NEC in 2017, has made the surprise move of testing the mood of his local party today. The MP has emailed all local members informing them that he plans to conduct a poll, which will ask them whether they support his continued candidacy.

He has told members that he will only confirm to the Labour Party that he intends to stand for reselection if he wins the support of the local constituency party.

The email reads: “For more than two years now I have had the privilege to represent Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven as the Labour MP, on Monday I received an email from the general secretary asking me if I would like to be the Labour candidate at the next general election.

“In 2017 in the snap general election I was imposed by the NEC as your candidate in the election with grassroots members not having a say in my selection. I pledged that I would not re-stand unless I had the confidence of the members.

“Using an anonymous third party voting organisation, members will be emailed with a poll asking if they support me staying on as the Labour candidate with the results being given to the CLP executive directly.

“I want to make sure that you as my constituency party have faith in me to continue as your representative and I will only confirm my candidature with your support. This doesn’t reduce your ability to hold me to account at the branch level in the current selection process.”

Russell-Moyle’s neighbouring MP, Peter Kyle in Hove, has taken a different approach by tweeting his completed form, which shows a ticked box as well as the handwritten message: “Yes, I will be a candidate at the next election”. It is thought probable that Kyle will be ‘triggered’ by at least a third of branches in his local party, though a full process may well see him ultimately reselected.

More from LabourList