Labour chairman says party 'may be too broad a church'

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Labour may be "too broad a church" and MPs must work "very hard" to avoid deselection, a senior Jeremy Corbyn ally said, amid reports that the leader's supporters are looking to strengthen their grip on the party.

Ian Lavery, the Labour chairman, said all internal structures would be reviewed and told MPs that if they are deselected by their local party "there must be a reason for it".

His comments may concern those considered to be on the right of the party amid reports that Mr Corbyn's allies will seek to change Labour rules at its autumn conference in Brighton to get more local representation on the party's ruling national executive committee in a bid to bolster the leader's position.

Some groups are also considering tabling proposals to lower the number of nominations an MP needs to run for the leadership in an attempt to ensure a left-wing candidate is guaranteed to make the ballot in the future, according to the Times.

A Labour source said party rules are a "matter for the membership" and leader Mr Corbyn "tends not to involve himself in specific proposals", but added: "Jeremy has consistently argued for, including in his two successful leadership elections, a more democratic party."

It came as Mr Lavery told the Huffington Post: "We are a broad church. Some might argue, and I would be one of them, that we might be too broad a church.

"Being an MP, I haven't got the divine right to be an MP for Wansbeck. I've got to work very hard on behalf of every single member of that constituency."

On deselections, he added: "Everything is going to be reviewed. That's the point I am making.

"You can't be any more democratic than allowing the people in your constituency to pick who they want as their MP. I think that's really fair and really important.

"That is the way it is at the minute, by the way, but perhaps we need to look at different ways and means. Listen, if you get deselected in a constituency there must be a reason for it."

Mr Lavery, who helped run the party's election campaign, went on: "I think everything has got to be on the table. Every single thing - the whole of the party's structures - can be improved upon.

"We have got to keep people enthused so the party has got to be more democratic.

"These are pleasant challenges that everyone should look forward to."