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Lloyd Russell-Moyle voluntarily sets a new democratic standard for selecting Labour MPs

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle

How MPs are chosen is a key battle for who controls the party between the Labour left and right.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, one of Labour’s new MPs from 2017, has voluntarily set a new democratic standard for picking Labour MPs in his constituency.

Why is Labour asking MPs if they’re standing for re-election?

As reported by the BBC, Labour is preparing for a possible general election. And so it has written to all current MPs asking if they plan to stand for re-election. Candidates must reply to this request by 8 July.

However, Labour’s new trigger ballot system adopted in September 2018 paves the way for the possible deselection of unpopular MPs. Under the so-called “33% model” only a third of local party branches (or affiliate trade union branches) would need to disapprove of their current Labour MP to trigger a new contest. This would mean a new election taking place to pick a preferred candidate.

This system differs from mandatory reselection which would mean an automatic open contest to select a candidate before each election.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle: taking a more democratic approach

One Labour Co-operative MP has gone above and beyond the requirements of the new system: Russell-Moyle from the Brighton Kemptown constituency.

As he declared on Twitter, Russell-Moyle has vowed not to confirm standing for re-election until he has consulted with local Labour Party members to ensure he has their support:

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He’s even gone so far as organising an online ballot of members:

He also explained why he felt it was the right thing to do:

A positive response

Russell-Moyle’s gesture has been roundly welcomed on social media:

Another, who had originally applied to be a candidate to contest Russell-Moyle’s seat in the 2017 general election, also praised him:

Not all Labour MPs share Russell-Moyle’s approach…

But not all share Russell-Moyle’s approach.

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for the neighbouring constituency of Hove, reacted differently to the reselection process.

He tweeted:

His written note stating he’ll “be a candidate at the next election” is open to interpretation.

Matt Thomas on Twitter thought it was a display of arrogance:

Kyle has frequently found himself in spats with Corbyn-supporting members of his local party. And the local press around Brighton & Hove has reported calls for him to be deselected.

Battle for the heart of the party goes on

Before 8 July, there’s a big opportunity for members to challenge sitting Labour MPs they are dissatisfied with. And if pursued with energy, it could mean the removal of right-wing elements in the party.

Left-winger Russell-Moyle’s open, democratic approach to this process sets a new benchmark for accountability. And although many MPs talk about their democratic credentials, few put their money where their mouth is, as he has.

Featured image via Lorraine/YouTube

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