6 Nov 2015

Ken Livingstone calls for Labour MP expulsions

This tweet from Ken Livingstone might deserve a line when the history of the Corbyn leadership is written.

06_ken_tweet

It comes after Jeremy Corbyn’s adviser Andrew Fisher had his membership of the party suspended.

There are calls for Mr Fisher to be expelled after he appeared to support a Class War candidate in the general election instead of Labour in a tweet. He will carry on in post working for Mr Corbyn.

Ken Livingstone is seen as very close to the whole Corbyn team and was the patron of at least two of the closest people now working in Jeremy Corbyn’s office.

Officials will say that, where Andrew Fisher is concerned, rules are rules and there’s nothing to see here.

But Corbynistas will see the hostile party machine doing its best to undermine a leader they feel shouldn’t be there and is unworthy of the office he holds.

There is already an appetite amongst some close to Corbyn to clear out the senior ranks at Party HQ. There is talk of hoping to dislodge the General Secretary, Iain McNicol.

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At Labour HQ they barely know what any of Jeremy Corbyn’s team look like. The leadership team give headquarters a wide berth, preferring to hunker down together in the leader’s suite of offices in the Parliamentary complex a few streets away.

(Incidentally, when Jeremy Corbyn went to HQ straight after his victory he gingerly put his hand up in a briefing session and asked who he should tell about any booked leave he had.)

Anyway, the rule book being deployed by party officials – they would argue, with total neutrality – is also being ploughed through by some close to the leader.

Someone with Jeremy Corbyn’s interests at heart is believed to have asked the General Secretary to see if there was a case to expel MP Simon Danczuk from the party a few weeks ago for his criticism of Jeremy Corbyn (was that person Ken Livingstone or just someone like-minded?).

It was suggested by the General Secretary’s office that this was normal political argument and not something that came under disciplinary rules.

The NEC may now decide Mr Fisher’s fate but that is a body that Jeremy Corbyn can be fairly comfortable will vote his way.

Jon Lansman, the veteran organiser on the Left, is said to have a colour-coded chart of the 33-strong NEC which shows 12 solid supporters for the leader, but as he knows in reality there can be a majority for Jeremy Corbyn on most issues.

We shall see if the leader applies pressure to get one on this issue.

Jim McMahon, the Labour candidate in the Oldham by-election, will cede his NEC seat if elected but it should go to a fellow non-Corbynista who was just behind him on the last vote for places.

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