Labour MP Chuka Umunna has spoken out against the faction of his party he believes are engaging in “troll” politics. Speaking on the BBC’s Today Programme this morning, Umunna also made a thinly veiled attack on the credentials of Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Umunna started off by questioning the “new kind of politics” promised by Jeremy Corbyn during his campaign to win the Labour leadership. This new way of doing politics was supposed to transform Labour into a kinder and more transparent party, that would be honest with the public. Umunna says that in reality it hasn’t turned out like that.
“If the new politics is to mean anything, I think people should be allowed to air their different views on different policies, without being insulted, without being trolled, without being threatened by deselection by others in the party, that is unfortunately happening and we need to end that.”
Umunna is talking about threats made by the increasingly influential Momentum organisation to Labour MPs who have publically disagreed with Corbyn. Described by the BBC as “Corbyn’s foot soldiers,” Momentum is a grassroots left-wing organisation within the Labour party that has been putting pressure on Labour MPs to fall in line with their leader.
The whole point of “new politics” was that politicians would stick to their principles and not surrender their values for political gain. That’s why Umunna is angry that Corbyn has said Labour MPs won’t get a free vote on whether to extend RAF airstrikes against ISIS into Syria. Umunna told the Today Programme that it was fundamental his desire to keep the people he represents safe, should come before the Labour Party’s internal politics. He used the term “troll” twice to describe how unpleasant he believes the Labour Party is becoming.
“I’m sorry, that will come before any internal party political issue I think. I should be able to to adopt the position without being attacked, without being subject to a nasty troll form of politics.”
Addressing the controversy generated earlier this week when Corbyn said that he was not happy with police shoot-to-kill policies, Umunna said “If you cannot keep the people safe, in their eyes that is a disqualification from office.” That statement clearly questions Corbyn’s suitability to be leader of the Labour Party.
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