The purge in the Labour Party of those opposed to Jeremy Corbyn continues. So far, the most publicized case is that of Joan Ryan, a longtime Member of Parliament and the leader of Labour Friends of Israel, who failed to prevail in a vote of no-confidence — it was close, 94-92 — but insists she will not quit the party. She blames her loss on “Trots, Stalinists, Communists and assorted hard-left,” many of whom have recently joined the party it seems precisely to support the far-left and antisemitic Jeremy Corbyn, by driving out of the party all those who refuse to toe the Corbynite party line.
Frank Field, who has been a Labour M.P. for 39 years, has even quit the Labour Party in protest at the antisemitic and anti-Israel turn it has taken under Corbyn, and, too, at the sudden influx of rabid far-left activists who have recently joined the party precisely in order to purge it of people like him and Joan Ryan. Another member of the party and of Labour Friends of Israel, Gavin Shuker, has also lost a vote of no-confidence, but like Joan Ryan, vows not to quit the party. Others who have lost votes of no-confidence, over Brexit, include Kate Hoey, a long-time member of Parliament, who supported the government on Brexit. Graham Stringer, another M.P. who supported Brexit, has survived a no-confidence vote, but has been put on notice that there will be future attempts to repeat such a vote. All of these votes of no-confidence, whether they succeed or fail, have been promoted by a brand-new group of Labour Party members, determined to purge the party of everyone who does not slavishly follow the Corbyn line.
In my case, the censure motion criticised me for disagreeing with Jeremy Corbyn. I do. On the importance of a responsible economic policy, on national security, on Europe, ironically similar issues on which Jeremy disagreed with previous leaders.The notice for the Nottingham East Labour meeting on Friday stated that “we want the meetings to be inclusive and productive”. For most of my eight years as the local Labour MP, the Friday night GC meetings have been exactly that. Sadly today, it is not the tone of many meetings and the promise of “kinder, gentler” politics has long been forgotten if, indeed, it ever began.It has become increasingly apparent that differing views are not tolerated in the Labour party and every opinion is judged on whether it is acceptable to the party leadership. This started shortly after Jeremy became leader, as colleagues with whom I had previously thought I shared a similar political outlook began expecting me to do a U-turn and take positions I would never have otherwise agreed with – whether on national security or the EU single market.Whenever I speak publicly – and it doesn’t really matter what I say – there follows a tirade of abuse on social media calling for deselection, denouncing the politics of the centre, telling me I should not be in the Labour party.And that is not just my experience. Indeed, I know I am more fortunate than some of my colleagues as the comments directed at me tend to be political. I am in awe of the professionalism and determination of those colleagues who face a torrent of sexist or racist abuse every day but never shy away.
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