Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have taken control of the Leeds Central constituency Labour party and are preparing to deselect MP Hilary Benn, according to the Yorkshire Post.
The move is the first major indicator that Corbynites and members of Momentum — who now dominate Labour party leadership — intend to ditch as many moderate MPs as they can before the next election and replace them with left-wingers.
Leftists in Leeds were angered by Benn’s support for military action against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria: In the House of Commons debate over taking military action in Syria, Benn made an impassioned speech favouring the fight against fascism while Corbyn, a pacifist who wanted a “political settlement” with ISIS, simmered on the benches next to him.
Benn later led the failed effort to oust Corbyn from the leadership.
In the last three or four months, Corbyn loyalists have been working to take over the Leeds party, according to The Times:
“At the recent annual general meeting (AGM) of his Leeds Central constituency party, Benn looked on as his allies were ‘replaced with Corbyn supporters to a man or woman’, according to a Facebook post, now removed, by one of the successful candidates, Stewart Dunbar. All 13 of the constituency officers are Corbynites. ‘Hilary Benn’s face was a picture,’ he added.”
“The takeover was organised over ‘three to four months’ hard work’ in informal caucus meetings, Dunbar said.”
Deputy leader John McDonnell gave his tacit support to the deselection push by telling the Mirror that he would not interfere in local party democracy.
If the deselection of Benn was successful, it would bring history full-circle: Corbyn cut his political teeth working for Benn’s father, the late Tony Benn MP, on the latter’s failed deputy leadership bid of 1981. Another activist on that campaign was Jon Lansman, the founder of Momentum.
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