Jewish Labour MPs should be ‘automatically reselected’ at next election
Jewish Labour MPs should be “automatically reselected” to stand at the next general election, the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism has urged.
Labour MP John Mann, who has been a vocal critic of the party leadership, said Jeremy Corbyn should make the move to “shut up some of the extremists”.
The Bassetlaw MP also defended the decision of Labour veteran Frank Field to resign, saying the party needed to address the “atmosphere of bullying, intimidation, extremism and racism”.
Mr Mann, in an interview with Sky News, also challenged the argument from some of his Labour colleagues that Mr Field should fight a by-election if he intended to sit as an Independent.
He said: “Well there’s others who might have to do it first because other Labour MPs have resigned the whip. The first was Jared O’Mara in Sheffield, so that should be the first by-election and that would be a very interesting test.”
Asked about the possibility other Labour MPs could walk away from the party, Mr Mann said: “It’s a possibility, I hope not but I think it’s a distinct possibility that others will go unless the racism, the bullying, the intimidation of the extremists is stopped.
“One thing that the Labour leader could do today is he could announce that all the Jewish MPs are re-standing automatically as Labour candidates at the next election, that would shut up some of the extremists.”
Mr Mann added that Mr Field was a “huge figure in the Labour Party” and insisted that his views “chime with the overwhelming majority of Labour voters in the North”.
He added: “There’s Labour people who support leaving the European Union, Frank going is a big danger to us losing those votes and if the top of the Labour Party doesn’t wake up to it, one thing’s for certain, they’ll never be in power.”
Mr Mann went on to say that chief whip Nick Brown should be “begging” Mr Field to return to the Labour fold.
Mr Field is set to hold talks with Mr Brown on Friday in Westminster to discuss his options after resigning the whip.
Labour sources have said Mr Field’s wish to serve as an Independent MP while remaining a member of the party is “not possible”.
Under the Parliamentary Labour Party standing orders, which governs MPs, anyone who takes such action will usually get a letter asking them to retake the party whip within 14 days or face expulsion.