The Labour Party must unite to win elections in Brighton and Hove and beyond

Jeremy Corbyn visited Brighton’s Labour Party tonight, Tuesday 02 August 2016.

On Thursday 14 July the Labour Party suspended Brighton and Hove branch until after the leadership election.

Seven “Keep Corbyn” candidates were elected to Brighton and Hove’s Labour Party executive committee compared with five candidates from Mr Blair’s reform group who were elected by Wednesday 13 July. However, these results were then declared null and void the next day.

Like the Labour Party nationally, Brighton and Hove branch is divided with a split between the membership and those people they elected.

Supporters of Mr Corbyn’s Momentum movement took three key positions in Brighton and Hove at the AGM: Chair, Mark Sandell, Treasurer, Claire Wadey and Secretary, Greg Hadfield.

A pro-Corbyn wing of the Labour Party hoped to hold to account the main reforming “Blairite” group of the Brighton and Hove Council members and Hove’s MP, Peter Kyle.

Brighton’s journalist Mr Hadfield said: “It has been the most exciting day of my political life.”

Eleven other members of the national executive were elected on Monday 11 July with a split of five momentum candidates and four reform candidates. Reformers: Anne Pissaridou was elected Vice Chair (campaigns) and Christine Robinson as Vice Chair (membership.)

Mr Hadfield said: “Momentum has not taken over Brighton and Hove District Labour Party. The members have taken over.”

“I and my fellow officers will serve the 6000 other members of the Labour Party. Labour will win the general election whenever it comes and Brighton and Hove ‘city’ elections in 2019.”

Labour Party
Standing room only at B&H momentum rally on Saturday 9 July.

Only 38 members of the Parliamentary Labour Party now support Mr Corbyn. Without support from 51 MPs in Parliament, there were questions about whether Mr Corbyn would be able to stand in the next Labour leadership election.

Hove MP Mr Kyle said publicly before the elections that he does not support Mr Corbyn and will therefore back Angela Eagle MP, now Owen Smith, to become the next leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party by default.

Labour’s National Executive Committee has introduced a cut-off point for joining the party, ostensibly to prevent vote-rigging by people from other parties joining the Labour Party, who may distort the result.

Angela Eagle has now stood down because the reform or progress wing within the party needs to unite their supporters to defeat Mr Corbyn. Two national contenders would split the reform vote.

Hove’s businesswoman Jo Dance joined a political party, Labour, in the last fortnight for the first time.

She said: “I’m really saddened by all the anti-Corbyn feeling in the parliamentary party at the moment. I, like many others, felt the Labour party in recent years had become a kind of ‘Tory Light’.

Momentum committee member Kate Knight said: “I am incensed by what appears to be the contempt of the Parliamentary Labour Party for democracy.”

Corbyn

Danielle Spencer from Hove was a humanitarian aid worker in Somalia who returned to England specifically to get involved in Momentum.

As a labour supporter, she is very distressed by austerity and said: “People are oppressed by it, austerity is unjust, unfair and unwarranted.

“I came back very disillusioned with the way the Labour Party was progressing and not protecting the rights of the people that it was set up to protect and defend.

“I thought people would unite. The country is in the greatest need, now the Parliamentary Labour Party is not listening to Labour Party members.

“Labour activists are rooting for Mr Corbyn and the councillors need to dedicate themselves to the people who voted for them.

“The Parliamentary Labour Party has ignored the public feeling during the war in Iraq. The war created voter apathy, disaffection and distrust.

“Now people are interested in politics again but I am not sure the Labour Party can survive.

“Prejudice at the BBC is another issue. I used to work in communications there. It is not reporting Mr Corbyn fairly. It is confused and twisted.

“The BBC’s job is to inform, educate and instruct. It is not there to take sides.”

Under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, Labour membership has grown exponentially to 500,000 members.

Labour must now unite throughout the UK to have any hope of defeating the conservatives at the next election.

MPs from the Parliamentary Labour Party ignore Mr Corbyn’s electoral mandate at their peril.

To have any hope of electoral success, Labour reformers must argue about policies rather than personalities and win the argument, not just in Parliament, but in party branches throughout the United Kingdom.