The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, supports the proposed rule change [Image: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian].

What we’re seeing here is an attempt by Labour’s hard-right to subvert democracy while claiming to stand for it.

Mr Angell’s argument – that a lower threshold of nominations for future leadership campaigns is an acknowledgement that left-wing candidates will “never” enjoy the wider support in the Parliamentary party that a leader needs is nonsense, of course.

The Parliamentary Labour Party may be stuffed with right-wingers at the moment, but that is a result of New Labour “parachuting” its right-wing candidates into “safe” constituencies, back when Blair and Brown were in the ascendancy.

The move now is for those cuckoos to be ejected from their adopted nests and genuine constituency candidates to replace them. In time, that implies a change in the political leanings of the Parliamentary party.

In the meantime, however, the party membership must deal with these Parliamentary cuckoos – and, as well all know that birds of a feather stick together, it is clear that a rule change (if only temporarily) may be required to impose fairness.

Mr Angell’s claim that John McDonnell supports the plan for selfish reasons is a grubby personal attack and we use it as the basis to judge Mr Angell’s own character.

Whatever happens, it is clear that Constituency Labour Parties’ choice of delegates to next year’s party conference has now become a critical issue. Both Labour First (right-wing) and Momentum (left-wing) will need to prepare potential candidates and campaign to win support for them.

If either side’s activities jeopardise the party’s performance in next year’s elections, it will no doubt play badly for them.

Labour members must resist attempts planned for 2017 to radically redraw party rules to give leftwing candidates a higher chance of success in future leadership contests, the director of a pressure group has said.

Richard Angell, of the centrist Progress group closely associated with the New Labour years, said it was his new year’s resolution to stop an amendment supported by the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, which would lower the number of supportive MPs needed to qualify as a leadership candidate.

Currently, would-be candidates need the support of 15% of their parliamentary colleagues for their name to be added to the ballot. However, the Labour conference this year will vote on whether to lower the threshold to 5% of MPs.

The move is favoured by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn because it is viewed as an avenue to allow a continuity leftwing candidate to succeed him whenever he chooses to resign.

Source: Labour members urged to reject plan for lower leadership threshold | Politics | The Guardian

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