Let’s get something perfectly clear: Labour’s reselection process is not about stabbing good MPs in the back; it is about getting the best possible election candidates.
If Yvette Cooper’s constituency party decides to let her go, then that’s the prerogative of the members.
That goes for Hilary Benn – he can’t dine out on his father’s reputation forever; Margaret Beckett; Jess Phillips; Margaret Hodge; Angela Eagle; Louise Ellman or whoever.
And if it means 70 sitting Labour MPs get replaced on the orders of their constituency parties, then that’s what will happen.
The fact that some Corbyn loyalists may also get the push shows that this isn’t some leftie conspiracy, despite what some of the sore egos in the party are telling the news-hacks.
Apparently, incumbents have until July 8 (Monday) to tell the Labour executive whether they want to stand for election again. One or two have already said they won’t – and it would probably be more dignified for some of the others if they did the same.
After Monday, the process moves on to the members; if one-third of a constituency’s branches vote to remove their MP, then the matter will be decided by a “trigger” ballot.
To be honest, many MPs who are “triggered” probably won’t lose their chance to be re-elected, because one-third of branches is not a majority of members; while incumbents may have to stand for re-selection, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
It seems some are trying to organise a way of manipulating the system to prevent de-selection. But in light of the above, this seems over-the-top.
So when the i online quotes MPs as saying
“It’s another example of how they [the Corbyn leadership]aren’t going to take their foot off our throats until they’ve choked us.”
“People are really angry about it. It could mean a lot of really good, hard-working MPs are affected.”
it’s likely to be hyperbole.
This is about clearing the wheat from the chaff – not about divesting Labour of talented representatives.