Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith did not attend the meeting about Betts’ plan to reintroduce shadow cabinet elections because they were at a hustings [Image: Robert Perry/EPA].

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith did not attend the meeting about Betts’ plan to reintroduce shadow cabinet elections because they were at a hustings [Image: Robert Perry/EPA].

Once again, the Parliamentary Labour Party risks the wrath of rank and file members – this time by ignoring them in discussion of a change of the party’s representative system.

Why should MPs be the only ones to choose members of the shadow cabinet?

The whole party chooses the leader and deputy leader. If the leader is to be blocked from choosing his own shadow cabinet, why should candidates for positions in it not be chosen in the same way?

Why do Labour MPs seem to consider themselves an elite, above the rest of the membership. That attitude is very far indeed from the Labour philosophy; we are all equal.

It is as well that the proposal, if approved, must go before the National Executive Committee, and then the National Conference.

This Writer would suggest that either of these bodies could propose an amendment that the entire membership should be allowed to take part in shadow cabinet elections – and put the final decision to the wider membership.

Or is that too much like democracy for the PLP rebels?

Labour MPs are to vote on Tuesday on whether to reinstate a system of electing shadow cabinet members, in an attempt to promote unity within the badly-split parliamentary party.

The MPs have from 10am to 5pm to take part in a secret ballot on the proposal, put forward by Clive Betts, who represents Sheffield South East for the party.

Betts’ plan to reintroduce the system, which was abolished under Ed Miliband in 2011, was put to a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on Monday night, and saw no MPs speak against it, a party source said. Neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Owen Smith were present at the meeting as they were at a hustings elsewhere.

Betts told MPs he had come up with the idea without input from the camps of Corbyn and Smith, who are battling it out for the leadership, and hoped it would bring more unity.

Even if Betts’ motion is voted through, it is by no means certain to come into being. The proposal would need to be approved by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), which is seen to have a pro-Corbyn majority, and then be confirmed by the annual conference later this month.

Corbyn has not backed the idea, suggesting instead that the shadow cabinet could be chosen by Labour members, who are notably more supportive of him than the majority of the party’s MPs, who in June voted 172 to 40 that they had no confidence in his leadership.

A Corbyn spokesman has said the Labour leader “supports democratisation and reform of the party rules and structures”.

Source: Labour MPs to vote on reinstating elections for shadow cabinet members | Politics | The Guardian


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