Is Har­man the next to be ousted by the Cor­bynistas?

Daily Mail - - News - By Claire El­li­cott Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

HARD- left ac­tivists have taken over the rul­ing body of Har­riet Har­man’s con­stituency labour party, prompt­ing fears she could face de­s­e­lec­tion.

the Jeremy Cor­byn-back­ing Mo­men­tum group now has a ma­jor­ity on the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee in the MP’s seat of Cam­ber­well and Peck­ham in South london.

It is the lat­est seat seized by the group, which has taken con­trol of one london coun­cil and is tar­get­ing oth­ers.

Sev­eral mod­er­ate labour MPs have been tar­geted by Mo­men­tum ac­tivists and face the threat of de­s­e­lec­tion.

the seat of Cam­ber­well and Peck­ham has been held for 36 years by Miss Har­man, who was once labour’s act­ing leader.

Mo­men­tum or­gan­is­ers hailed the vic­tory, say­ing the branch had ‘swung de­ci­sively to the left’ away from the ‘Right’, in a ref­er­ence to Miss Har­man.

At last week’s an­nual meet­ing of the Cam­ber­well and Peck­ham labour party, 12 Mo­men­tum­back­ing of­fi­cers were elected to the 15 posts on the com­mit­tee, up from just three pre­vi­ously.

Mod­er­ate labour mem­bers who stood for of­fi­cer po­si­tions failed to win in the power grab.

One of the newly-elected of­fi­cers is Marion Roberts, the former wife of Mr Cor­byn’s brother Piers, who lives in the bor­der­ing con­stituency of Ber­mond­sey. Mo­men­tum founder Jon lans­man also lives in the seat.

South­wark Mo­men­tum or­gan­iser Chris Bright wrote a blog de­scrib­ing the strat­egy be­hind the takeover, say­ing it was re­sult of ‘pa­tient work’ since 2016, when Mr Cor­byn was elected labour leader.

Mr Bright said Mr Cor­byn’s back­ers had ‘started win­ning the po­lit­i­cal ar­gu­ments’ against the ‘witch­hunt’, a ref­er­ence to ac­cu­sa­tions of anti-Semitism against the party, and ‘so­cial cleans­ing’.

He added that in pre­vi­ous elec­tions more long-stand­ing mem­bers tended to re­vert to the can­di­dates they knew.

this time, he said, they flooded the branch with Cor­byn sup­port­ers and en­cour­aged them to stand as branch of­fi­cers and del­e­gates.

Among the of­fi­cers elected to the Con­stituency labour Party in Cam­ber­well and Peck­ham was Dave lewis as sec­re­tary. He re­joined the labour party the day Mr Cor­byn be­came leader af­ter leav­ing un­der tony Blair. A se­nior labour source said: ‘there is a fo­cus on in­ter­nal in­fight­ing and de­s­e­lect­ing sit­ting can­di­dates rather than try­ing to win new seats. they should con­cen­trate on the real threats.’

An­other lo­cal labour mem­ber

‘Taken over the whole party’

said: ‘Mo­men­tum have taken over the whole of the party. the peo­ple who are not Mo­men­tum you can count on one hand.’

the con­stituency will send eight del­e­gates to labour’s na­tional party con­fer­ence this year, all of whom are Mo­men­tum sup­port­ers, up from two out of four last year.

that means that there are likely to be more del­e­gates who are able to vote in favour of poli­cies backed by Mr Cor­byn.

In Haringey in North london, the coun­cil leader Claire Kober quit, blam­ing sex­ism and bul­ly­ing by Mo­men­tum mem­bers.

Mo­men­tum ousted sit­ting coun­cil­lors and re­placed them with left­wingers, giv­ing them a con­trol­ling ma­jor­ity af­ter May’s lo­cal elec­tions.

Mo­men­tum has also been ac­cused of seek­ing a na­tion­wide purge of cen­trist coun­cil­lors and has re­port­edly drawn up a hitlist of mod­er­ate labour MPs it wants de­s­e­lected.

ear­lier this year, Mo­men­tum de­s­e­lected labour’s mod­er­ate mayor in Ne­wham, east london.

How­ever, some se­nior labour sources say Miss Har­man does not face an im­mi­nent de­s­e­lec­tion threat. they say the lo­cal Cam- paign fo­rum, the group that at­tends the party con­fer­ence, will still have a ma­jor­ity of mod­er­ates be­cause it in­cludes del­e­gates from two other coun­cils. Miss Har­man de­clined to com­ment.

Mod­er­ate: Miss Har­man

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