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

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle
Joshua Funnell

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.

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

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:

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

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support