Jon Lansman, the chair and co-founder of Momentum, has come out in favour of ousting Labour MPs who vote for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – which could be done directly through the ruling body of the party.
He tweeted: “Johnson’s deal will be a wrecking ball through the lives & well-being of ordinary people across Britain. Labour MPs cannot and must not vote for it. If they do, the NEC [Labour’s ruling body] will have no choice but to replace them with a new, socialist Labour candidate at the next election.”
Huda Elmi, a Momentum-backed local party representative elected to Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) alongside Lansman, expressed agreement with the suggestion.
She tweeted: “It’s pretty basic. Being a Labour MP means opposing the Tories when they try to destroy our country. This reckless sell out deal is even worse than Theresa May’s, and any Labour MP that sides with Boris Johnson has no right to stand at the next election.”
LabourList understands that the NEC as a whole has never discussed the idea of refusing to endorse the reselection of sitting MPs who have voted for a Tory Brexit deal. One NEC member said: “NEC isn’t in charge of PLP discipline. That’s Nick Brown’s job.”
On Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, key leadership figure John McDonnell emphasised the “power of persuasion” with regard to whipping arrangements – hinting that Labour prefers the ‘carrot’ over the ‘stick’ approach.
The Shadow Chancellor also confirmed that Labour was talking to other opposition parties about whether it would be a good idea to table an amendment advocating another referendum on Saturday or it would be better to simply vote against the deal on Saturday and move towards a public vote later.