Momentum, the UK Labour party faction loyal to Jeremy Corbyn, has openly called for changes to Labour's candidate selection process on Monday. The declaration comes just before the party's annual conference set to take place in Liverpool September 23 to 26.
A Momentum spokesperson said in a statement Monday that "Labour's selection procedure should be democratic, give a fair chance to all candidates and encourage positive campaigning."
"This means ending the divisive practise of forcing activists to campaign against sitting MPs and replacing it with a process that is open from the start," the statement continued. "We are also a party on the verge of government, and when Corbyn's Labour goes into government, we all go into government."
"This means Labour MPs need to stay close to their communities, in tune with their needs and understand that the deep, collective knowledge of our half a million members — who live and work in every kind of community across Britain — is an invaluable resource which must be utilised."
Richard Angell, director of center-left faction Progress, tweeted his outrage towards the proposal, stating that "it is almost like they are doing the Tories job for them."
"Mandatory reselection says that Labour thinks it know better than the voters," he tweeted, adding that it "makes it hard for MPs in marginal seats to build a good reputation with local voters and is a clear statement that Labour would rather be pure than inclusive."
This weekend Momentum met, rather than choose to change Labour’s policy on #Brexit they are throwing their weight behind changing Labour MPs— (((Richard Angell))) (@RichardAngell) September 3, 2018
It is almost like they are doing the Tories job for them
Labour’s trigger ballot procress is more than sufficient
In response, Derby North MP Chris Williamson hit back at naysayers, jibing that "even the chair of Jeremy Corbyn's allotment society has to face reselection now and then."
"It's a practice that's commonplace in trade unions. Primaries are a standard feature of democracy in the United States. But for some elitists, it's dangerous and radical."
Other social media users have entered both sides of the debate, offering their own comments.
"They know their agenda has failed. And they know mandatory reselection is coming. Let them carry on with their shenanigans. The clock is ticking and it's nearly GAME OVER," one Twitter user chided.
I’m in a VERY upbeat mood.— James (@James4Labour) September 3, 2018
Comrades, they can’t oust @JeremyCorbyn.
No matter how hard they try.
They know their agenda has failed.
And they know mandatory reselection is coming.
Let them carry on with their shenanigans.
The clock is ticking and it’s nearly GAME OVER!
Twitter user Joan Smith was taken aback by James' sentiments, claiming that "mandatory reselection really has got some people very concerned."
"I expect we will see a lot more mischief being made in the run up to conference," she insinuated.
Mandatory reselection really has got some people very concerned. I expect we will see a lot more mischief being made in the run upto conference.— Joan Smith (@JoanSmi34044280) September 3, 2018
Prior to Momentum's statement, user Bevan Boy responded to Blairite calls for a no-confidence vote. "The time for mandatory reselection is now," he stated. "They must leave the party. NOT Corbyn!"
A vote of no confidence in @jeremycorbyn? Again?— Bevan Boy 🌹 (@mac123_m) September 2, 2018
There should be a vote of no confidence in the Blairite cancer within LAB. The time for mandatory reselection is now! I have no confidence in their centrist crap.
They must leave the party. NOT Corbyn! #DeselectBlairites
Ulverston resident David Heffman argued that Labour should respect its internal divisions in order to avoid a party collapse benefitting Tory leadership.
Mandatory reselection? A means to suppress critical voices and ensure that only Corbyn loyalists are put forward," he asserted. "This leads to electoral failure and makes SDP v2 inevitable. Cementing Tories as the party in power for another generation. Labour must respect its internal coalition."
Mandatory reselection? A means to suppress critical voices and ensure that only Corbyn loyalists are put forward. This leads to electoral failure and makes SDP v2 inevitable. Cementing Tories as the party in power for another generation. Labour must respect its internal coalition— David Heffernan (@davidheff) September 3, 2018
Birkenhead MP and former Labour whip Frank Field resigned from his post August 30 in protest of what he called Corbyn's failure to tackle rising antisemitism in the party. "The leadership is doing nothing substantive to address this erosion of our core values," he stated in his resignation letter published in the Telegraph. Field's resignation is the latest in a series of accusations of antisemitism against the Labour leader, fueled by a handful of centrist Labour MPs.