Labour row erupts over no confidence vote in Luciana Berger

Image by Irate (John Bradley). – own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

JVL Introduction

We utterly condemns anyone who has made any antisemitic remark directed at Luciana Berger (or anyone else for that matter); but we defend completely the right to reject her criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn, and her undermining of the Labour Party, and to seek to replace her with an MP who reflects the wishes and opinions of the local CLP.

The story broke yesterday with news that motions of no confidence in Luciana Berger were being proposed in Wavertree. Immediately right-wing Labour MPs were on the offensive, with implications that antisemitism underlay the criticism of Berger. This despite the clarity of the motions which accuse Ms Berger of deliberately undermining Corbyn. (Latest news is that these motions have been withdrawn for the time being…)

Below are extracts from a BBC report and  (h/t Skwawkbox from which these extracts are taken) an article which it bills as The best take on Berger/Wavertree situation – and behaviour of ‘moderates’ – you’ll find

Labour row erupts over no confidence vote in Luciana Berger

BBC report
8 February 2019

A Labour MP has accused John McDonnell of “letting his allies go after” Luciana Berger after a row erupted over her future in the party.

Ms Berger is facing a vote of no confidence from local members for criticising Jeremy Corbyn.

Shadow chancellor Mr McDonnell said she should reject claims she supported a “breakaway party” to show members she was “sticking with Labour”.

But Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie said his response was “ridiculous”.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson also backed Ms Berger, telling the Commons she had “our solidarity and… our support as she battles the bullying hatred from members of her own local party”.

And Labour MP Ian Austin – who faced suspension after a row over the party’s anti-Semitism codetold PoliticsHome: “It’s like something out of the Soviet Union’s show trials where people were let off if they confessed their disloyalty and shouted ‘Long Live Stalin’.”

Ms Berger – an outspoken critic of the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations and its stance on Brexit – said she would be not be “distracted from fighting for the interests of my constituents”.

An extraordinary meeting has been called in the Liverpool Wavertree constituency next week to discuss two no confidence motions.

Full report here.

The best take on Berger/Wavertree situation – and behaviour of ‘moderates’ – you’ll find


Below are a few paragraphs from an eminently readable – and sensible – article by a 2017 Labour parliamentary candidate on the issue of constituency Labour parties, votes of no confidence, the entitled behaviour of MPs and the Luciana Berger/Wavertree CLP situation.

It’s the best and most balanced take you’re likely to find:

Nearly all members hold it as an article of faith that the ultimate goal is to kick out the Tories, and to install a Labour government, and nearly all of us will swallow personal dislikes, policy disagreements and tone-deaf hymn-singing from the other side of the aisle, in order to elect any Labour MP who is working towards that goal. If that means supporting and campaigning for someone as candidate when you really wanted someone else, then so be it. I was aware in 2017 that some people would have much preferred a different candidate, but those same people still put in a shift to support me in that campaign, and some of them have even been won round to my dubious charm. Well, I like to tell myself that. Don’t disillusion me.
Some members will swallow political views they dislike, as long as the result is more likely to be a Labour government – for many on the left, that describes the entire period between 1997 and 2010. There are many current Labour MPs who are not particularly sympathetic to the politics of either the leadership or members, yet few have faced motions of no confidence, because their members will accept their lukewarm enthusiasm for socialist politics as long as they are seen as working hard to bring about a Labour government.

Some members will swallow opposition to the party leadership as long as that opposition comes from a political perspective with which they have sympathy, which explains why Jeremy Corbyn himself survived the Blair years. It’s also why plenty of MPs who have criticised the leadership’s stance on Brexit have gone unchallenged by members, because most members tend to have sympathy with more pro-Remain views.

Where members tend to draw the line, in my experience, is when a representative is seen as both politically unsympathetic and not helping to obtain a Labour government. If an MP ever crosses a line to be seen as actively helping to prevent a Labour government, then members will almost always move against them. If one looks at those Labour MPs who have faced motions of no confidence – and it is a relatively small number – one finds that it is inevitably the case that they not only have serious political differences with the leadership, but they are seen by members as making a Labour government less likely through their public provision of ammunition to the hostile media and the Tories.

If you want to read the rest of this excellent piece by @DisIdealist – and it’s well worth the time – you can do so here.