THERE was a big crowd at the Kingsgate Community Centre this evening as Labour members gathered for a constituency meeting, at which an emergency motion on Jeremy Corbyn’s future as party leader was to be discussed. Some people were turned away, some people were left listening through the windows. It was only when a zumba class in the main hall finished, the one where Ed Balls once famously did a bit of line-dancing, that the members were able to move into a bigger room. Some estimated 180 were there, which in local politics terms is a lot.
Some were there wearing Jeremy Corbyn fan t-shirts or ones with the Momentum logo, but there was disappointment for those hoping a vote of confidence in the leader would be agreed. Instead, what was described as a wrecking amendment turned the motion on its head. In the end, a majority voted in favour of calling for a leadership contest, as suggested by Hampstead member Peter Singer. So all the detail about that you may have seen on these pages earlier today, about staying loyal to Corbyn was stripped out. It was carried by a vote of branch delegates. The score: 20-16. As explained last night, while these constituencies have big Labour memberships of around 2,000, they don’t all turn up to meetings and only branch delegates actually get to vote on the motions.
The amended motion read:
Welcomes Tulip’s statement that “Responsibility for Brexit lies with a negligent government, not Jeremy Corbyn. Now is the time for Labour to unite and speak to the public.”
Notes Labour MPs would not have been elected without the efforts of ordinary members, trudging through the streets in the rain to deliver leaflets, putting the Party’s case across on the doorstep, organising in communities, and paying their regular subscriptions.
Believes that this is a critical moment which will determine the future of our communities for years to come, and that voters across the country need Labour to be united and fighting to defeat any attacks on workers’ rights, environmental protections, and any increased racism and xenophobia.
Given that the Parliamentary Labour Party has carried a vote of no confidence in the leader, this CLP resolves that a leadership election contest is needed to provide clear direction for the Party and ensure that we can unite to provide effective opposition to the Tory Government.
These are the bits that were deleted:
This CLP is dismayed and angered by the antics of a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party who have sought to undermine our democratically-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn.
We therefore resolve to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, and to condemn the actions of those who are seeking to divide the party and overturn the leaders’ democratic mandate.
What was slightly different in Hampstead and Kilburn to other CLPs, which have been more aggressive towards Corbyn, was the tone. All of the explicit support for Corbyn was removed, but what was left wasn’t the most blistering attack on the Labour leader. Instead it followed the path being trod so far by the constituency’s MP, Tulip Siddiq. In her address to members, she said that she was simply seeking unity – and with it an effective opposition – by calling for a clear-the-air leadership contest. She still says that Corbyn should not be blamed for Britain’s Brexit vote.