The Blairites launch plan to seize back the Labour party, and there’s just one way to stop them

Kerry-anne Mendoza

While making public admissions of defeat in their attempts to oust Jeremy Corbyn, the backers of the Labour coup have found a cunning way to attempt to seize back the party – and Corbyn supporters should act now if they want to stop them.

Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC) has elections in only a matter of weeks. The NEC basically defines the shape and direction of the Labour party. As they say on their website:

The National Executive Committee is the governing body and the administrative authority of the Labour Party that oversees the overall direction of the party and the policy-making process. It carries out this role by setting strategic objectives on an annual basis and meeting regularly to review the work of the party in these areas.

The same forces that sought to oust Corbyn, have united to stuff the NEC with Blairites in the upcoming elections.

As The Spectator reported back in January:

Labour First has been trying to ensure that the Corbynites don’t effect a takeover of the Labour party machinery…and…is also pushing its members to stand for election as CLP delegates for conference so that they can still exert some control over what conference debates and how it votes on policies.

It also has a slate of candidates, four of whom it announced this week, for the nominations to the party’s National Executive Committee and National Constitutional Committee. In the briefing recommending Ellie Reeves, Johanna Baxter, Peter Wheeler and Luke Akehurst, the group said:

‘Our primary focus has to be working hard for Labour victories at every level in May, but there are also two key internal processes starting now where we have an opportunity to fight back against the Hard Left and reassert a strong moderate voice within the Labour Party’.

The CLPs have been a huge support to Corbyn in recent weeks, with 90% backing him in the face of mutiny by the Parliamentary Labour Party. In several constituencies, the CLPs are putting forward votes of no confidence against Labour MPs who supported the coup. The Blairites want to silence that voice at the NEC.

The role of the NEC and the upcoming elections may likely be well off the radar of the hundreds of thousands of fresh-faced Labour members arriving to support Corbyn’s leadership. However, the Blairites are all over it. In fact, way back in May, anti-Corbyn candidate Luke Akehurst wrote an article for the NEC entitled: My blueprint for how moderates can seize the Labour leadership… next time around.

By moderate, Akehurst means Blairite. He lays out his plan for seizing back the party from ‘the left’ – although quite what the point of a non-left Labour party is, no one seems to know. Akehurst writes:

There’s nothing disloyal about trying to maintain balance and the strongest possible moderate voice in the party and secure the best personnel and policies we can from our perspective while the left are in the driving seat, nor planning for a future recovery.

We remain far stronger than the left in terms of personnel. The majority of the Shadow Cabinet and the front bench come from traditions other than the Hard Left. An entire potential moderate Shadow Cabinet is now sat on the back benches. The bulk of the PLP are moderates. So are all except a couple of Labour council leaders. So are most councillors. So are most people who want to be MPs and have the skill set and gumption to ever get selected. Without people in depth you can’t advance a political project, and between Corbyn and McDonnell and the neophytes of Momentum, the left’s talent cupboard is extremely bare.

What’s more entertaining is the list of four challenges Akehurst says the Blairites are facing: They have no leader, they have no ideological answer to the problems of the day, they have no policies, and they have no grassroots support. But, Akehurst says:

I refuse to believe that if the people around Jeremy Corbyn can achieve what they have done that the people from my wing of the party can’t, in future, do the same.

Flash forward two months, and Labour First have worked with others to mount a coup against Corbyn without any of those four things in place – and now they are simply twisting in the wind. So instead, they seek power in the ruling body of the party, in order to wreak their havoc anyway.

Akehurst is joined by fellow Blairite, and former Liz Kendall researcher, Bex Bailey – pictured at London’s Pride this year with none other than Portland Communications partner Kevin McKeever. You will know from our recent investigations the significant role of Portland/McKeever in the botched coup.

At the same time, the Labour Old Guard has been doing everything it can to prevent pro-Corbyn candidates like Rhea Wolfson from getting on the ticket. In fact, Wolfson – the only Jewish candidate for the NEC – was ousted for her links to Momentum, and smeared as an anti-semite.

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As one Labour member commented on the NEC website:

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In July and August, a One Member One Vote ballot will take place in which each of the Labour party’s now half million members can vote for up to six NEC candidates. In order to make sure that the progressive, left wing voice of local Labour members is heard at the ruling NEC – new members would need to prevent these Labour First candidates getting into power.

Get Involved!

You can see the list of non-Blairite candidates for the NEC here. Contact your CLP to find out how you can take part in the vote.

For Canary readers who are current or potential Labour supporters, you can sign this petition to back Jeremy Corbyn (if you haven’t already).

Momentum has also called on Labour supporters and members to:

Contact their MPs to express their support.
Thank their unions for continuing to back Corbyn.
Express themselves on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags ‪#OurPartyOurLeader‬ and ‪#KeepCorbyn‬.
Join its group and the Labour party to make their voices heard.

Featured image via Twitter

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