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An online guide giving people tips on how to deselect their Labour MP, including through finding them guilty of committing a crime, is likely to irk the party’s moderates.
It comes after reports of leftwing, grassroots activists attempting to find ways to unseat moderate MPs. Earlier this year, the chairman of Corbyn-supporting Momentum denied the group had a “hit list” of MPs who were critical of the Labour leader that they wanted to deselect.
The wikiHow page, titled ‘How to Deselect Your Labour MP’, reads: “Have you come to believe that your MP can no longer represent your views or the views and interests of people in your constituency? Deselection is a complicated process, but it can give you a chance to choose an MP candidate who really represents you.”
The fully-illustrated guide – which was first reported by HuffPost – has four methods for unseating MPs, including using the Constituency Labour Party (CLP), using the party’s governing National Executive Committee or achieving deselection after a change to constituency boundaries. Another method highlights how MPs can be deselected after being found guilty of a crime.
“MPs are humans and can commit crimes. For example, many MPs may have committed expenses fraud, which if found out can lead to time in prison,” the section reads.
It tells readers that MPs who are sentenced to more than 12 months in prison are automatically deselected.
“If they are sentenced to time in prison of fewer than 12 months, the CLP can choose whether or not to deselect them. This can be easily done through a simple vote and is probably the easiest way to deselect an MP. However, they do have to have committed a crime first,” the writers add.
The guide also contains a number of tips such as working in a team, having candidates in mind who “you think would be a better MP,” and finding out how other groups have gone about deselection.
It adds: “It is not recommended to frame your MP for a crime in order to go through the easier deselection process. However, if you believe they may have committed a crime you could investigate further. For example, you could make a Freedom of Information request asking to see their past expenses claims, which could be an opportunity to uncover expenses fraud.”
Bermondsey and Old Southwark Labour MP Neil Coyle told The Times that the party’s members were “frankly sick and tired of the small group of obsessives pursuing their own agenda”.
“They claim they’re backing Corbyn but often it boils down to naked self-interest. Most members want us to be ahead in the polls and punishing the government for its multiple failures.”
One unnamed Labour MP told HuffPost a guide on how the party could beat the Conservatives would be more useful. “The leadership must know that deselections won’t be without consequences – one of which would be another civil war that would cost Jeremy the next election. This needs to be nipped in the bud, fast.”
When asked about the guide, a Momentum source told i: “Impressive detail, but we only deal in memes.”
Mandatory reselection within the Labour Party is an issue that arises regularly.
Under this rule, each MP would face a vote from local members and affiliates on whether or not they could restand in an election.
Kieran Glasssmith, one of the writers of the guide, told HuffPost he support mandatory reselection, adding: “As a democratic party, Labour members should be able to choose the best person to represent the going into each election.”
i has contacted Mr Glasssmith for further comment.
Read more:
Momentum Integrated Jon Lansman: moderate MPs don’t need to worry – if they listen to their members
Threats to deselect Jeremy Corbyn’s critics condemned by senior Labour figures
Labour Live: how the political Glastonbury started to lose its tune
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