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The good fellows at Momentum were up in arms earlier, because of this:

Sunday Times front January 21.

The Momentum Twitter account had this to say:

“The Sunday Times contacted us at 9pm, half an hour before print. The story is based on one unnamed source. Others on twitter say they rewrote half the paper at the last minute as their big story was pulled.

“Desperate for a new front page, have @thesundaytimes just made this up?”

Well, the Sunday Times is behind a paywall that This Writer won’t cough up to get past, so I looked up the story in downmarket sister rag The Sun instead (don’t judge me – it’s all in the name of research). Apparently, it goes like this:

“As many as 50 Labour MPs are on a de-selection hit-list drawn up by leftist supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, it has been claimed.

“Moderate Labour MPs have been warned that Corbyn’s allies want centrist candidates ousted toe e replaced by hard line lefties.

“A Labour Party whip has been privately telling moderates not to rock the boat or they could face the chop.

“The news comes amid fears many will be targeted if rule changes are pushed through this autumn, The Times reports.

“Chris Leslie, former shadow chancellor, and Hilary Benn, son of Left wing icon Tony Benn, are believed to top the list.

“Angela Eagle, who challenged Corbyn for the leadership in 2016, and her sister Maria, are also thought to be in the activists’ sights.

“A source told The Times: “Allies of Corbyn have admitted they have a list of MPs they want to get rid of.”

“The disclosure came as three Momentum-backed candidates, including founder Jon Lansman, were elected to Labour’s national executive committee last week.”

It all seemed a bit familiar, so I got on a search engine and found this, from the Daily Mail website, dated July 7 last year – six months ago:

Hard left activists have drawn up a deselection ‘hit list’ of nearly 50 Labour MPs who have criticised Jeremy Corbyn.

A Momentum group in South Tyneside has published a list of politicians who they say should ‘join the Liberals’.

They include Chuka Umunna – who led a revolt against Mr Corbyn over leaving the EU single market – Chris Leslie and Jess Philips.

The list emerged as it emerged that another moderate MP had been ordered to apologise to Mr Corbyn after a hard-left clique took over her local party.

Luciana Berger, who is currently on maternity leave, was told by one newly-elected member of the executive in Liverpool Wavertree that she should ‘get on board quickly’ or face being axed.

The similarities are obvious – not just the names of those involved, like Chris Leslie and Maria Eagle (whose name is on the list published in the Mail‘s story, but also the language: In the Times story, moderate MPs are being told not to “rock the boat”, while in the Mail, Luciana Berger was allegedly told to “get on board quickly”.

Snap reaction: This is fake news. The Sunday Times has resurrected an old allegation about Momentum – most probably in response to the victory of Momentum-backed candidates including the organisation’s founder, Jon Lansman, in elections to the party’s ruling National Executive Committee last week.

Is there anything to it? Doubtful.

I’m sure a leading Labour figure ruled out mandatory reselection of MPs in an interview last week (although I admit I can’t find it at the time of writing), and the commentariat seemed to be taking that person at their word.

In the Labour Party, it seems, the ceasefire has been holding.

But that could change if these Murdoch rags stir up submerged animosities. Let’s hope nobody lets that happen.


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