It isn’t that John McDonnell WON’T intervene if Hilary Benn is deselected as an MP – he CAN’T

John McDonnell and Hilary Benn together at an event supporting the remain campaign in June [Image: Dylan Martinez/Reuters].

John McDonnell and Hilary Benn together at an event supporting the remain campaign in June [Image: Dylan Martinez/Reuters].

It’s bizarre to have to point this out – especially in response to reports by newspaper journalists who should know this – but John McDonnell has NOT refused to intervene over Hilary Benn’s future as a Labour MP.

The Shadow Chancellor simply has no power to do so. As he made perfectly clear in his Radio 5 Live interview, Parliamentary candidates are chosen by Constituency Labour Parties.

So Rajeev Syal’s article in The Grauniad, for example, is misleading. I’d like to say I hope this is not deliberate, but it still reflects on the professionalism of the author.

It doesn’t matter whether close allies of Jeremy Corbyn remain angry with Mr Benn after he sided with the Conservative Government over air strikes and Syria, or any involvement of his in the attempted ‘Chicken Coup’ over the summer.

If it is true that supporters of Mr Corbyn have been elected as officers in Mr Benn’s constituency party, Leeds Central, then they can propose any action they see fit – within party rules.

That includes deselection of the incumbent MP, so he may not stand as a candidate in a future election (it would not affect his position as an MP in the current Parliament).

And it is important to clarify that, if anyone has “taken over” positions in Leeds Central CLP, they would have done so by democratic means.

I question why Rajeev Syal mentions that Patrick Hall, a vice-chair of Leeds Central CLP who has spoken against Mr Benn, is a national executive member of the Labour Representation Committee, described as “a radical grouping” chaired by McDonnell.

What’s the implication?

Mr McDonnell will not influence any decision on Mr Benn’s future in any way. If Leeds Central CLP deselects Mr Benn, it will be because Leeds Central Labour members wish it.

That’s democracy.

Source: John McDonnell won’t intervene if Hilary Benn faces deselection fight | Politics | The Guardian

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6 thoughts on “It isn’t that John McDonnell WON’T intervene if Hilary Benn is deselected as an MP – he CAN’T

  1. Lin Wren

    Even I, not of Labour knows that it is the CLP members that selects or deselect the MP so Rajeev Syal has absolutely no excuse to imply otherwise. I sincerely hope that all the CLP’S will deselect all of the ‘chicken coup’ members. They will forever be a nasty thorn in Labours foot

  2. Martin

    Hopefully long standing and successful Labour MPs won’t get booted simply because they aren’t JC worshippers – and when I type JC I mean Jeremy Corbyn, by the way, not Jesus Christ. (Although many seem to confuse the two these days.) Who’s to say whether replacing such distinguished people with JC devotees would increase or decrease support for Labour in affected constituencies, or even, in a worse case scenario, actually lose the seat to another party. Most Labour voters are not Labour party members after all.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating: There is no Jeremy Corbyn personality cult.
      The simple fact is that it is Mr Corbyn’s policies that are attracting people back to Labour in their hundreds of thousands – policies that have returned the party to its former values (from before the time of Tony Blair or – if we’re being honest with ourselves – Neil Kinnock).
      People like Hilary Benn are finding their positions under threat because they represent a different policy platform – one which many people (myself included) find far too close to that of the Conservative Party, in far too many ways.
      Most Labour voters aren’t party members, you’re right – but then, a third of Labour voters deserted the party between 1997 and 2010, having seen what Tony Blair’s New Labour was all about. It would be nice to get those people back.
      Remember, this is about Labour values – not a popularity contest between Labour personalities.

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