Monday, April 19News For London

Momentum moves to block far-left members

Photo by Global Justice Now / CC BY

Pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Momentum has made a series of moves to isolate and exclude non-Labour elements from joining, in a bid to root out members from the far left.

The move follows comments made yesterday by Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson. Watson described Momentum as a “rabble” and warned about the possibility of an “entryist problem”. These comments are in response to comments made by moderate Labour MPs about threats of deselection.

Caroline Flint MP denounced what she called “deselection intimidation” late last week.

Despite these moves by Momentum, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s positions remain fixed. Yesterday, he was criticised for showing continued support for the Stop the War coalition. Mr Corbyn has rejected calls to cancel plans to attend a Christmas fundraiser for the group.

Tristram Hunt MP branded Stop the War as a “disreputable organisation”, and ex-MP Tom Harris branded them “West-hating”. Mr Corbyn insisted that the coalition has “repeatedly got it right”.

Representatives for Green MP Caroline Lucas confirmed she had quit as a patron for the group, saying “she felt standing down was the responsible thing to do”. Her representatives had also said her decision was motivated by observing behaviour within the group that she disagreed with.

Concerns about left-wing extremism within the Labour Party are shared by the government as well, and were evidenced during the Parliamentary vote on airstrikes in Syria last week.

The Prime Minister had remarked that MPs intending to vote with Mr Corbyn, against airstrikes, were “terrorist sympathisers”. During proceedings, multiple MPs expressed disappointment with the remarks, and demanded an apology.

Dr Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, voted against the strikes. Speaking to Westminster World, she said “it’s really not helpful language…with issues of this gravity…they are almost above party-politics”.