Ed Miliband’s former press chief has slammed “backroom” Labour MPs for trying to “enhance their careers” with a shake-up of how they choose the party’s top team.
Tom Baldwin hit out after the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) voted by a landslide to bring back shadow cabinet elections.
MPs backed the move 169-34 after hearing it would bring warring factions together if Jeremy Corbyn wins a widely-predicted leadership victory.
But Mr Corbyn – whose aides fear it is a bid to bring him to heel – is suggesting an alternative idea where members, not MPs, would pick his top team.
And Mr Baldwin, Labour’s former director of communications under Mr Miliband, was unimpressed by the PLP.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour last night: “I think this is another procedural manoeuvre in the dark if you like by MPs.
“Rather than doing what I think they should always have done, which is go out and sign up more members and register more supporters and beat Jeremy Corbyn according to the rules, [they] are now looking for backroom ways perhaps of enhancing their political careers and returning to the shadow cabinet.
“I don’t see how they can do that with an honest heart and a straight face.
“You know, a few weeks ago they said they had no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn less than a year into his leadership.
“They can’t now go and serve him on the frontbench in any capacity.”
Last week Mr Corbyn said he had spoken to hostile Labour MPs and expected some to return if he is declared leader again on September 24.
However, a row could brew as the shadow cabinet elections plan is discussed this week by Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC).
Since 2011 Labour leaders have had total power to pick their shadow cabinet, and the motion would bring back elections by MPs.
If approved the motion will then face a vote at the party conference in Liverpool.
But the wording is not yet confirmed.
If the wording of a rule-change is tweaked, Mr Corbyn’s allies could use the same motion to argue their case for handing the elections to grassroots members alongside or instead of MPs.
Shadow Foreign Secretary and Corbyn loyalist Emily Thornberry said last night: “If we are going to have the shadow cabinet elected then I think we should be considering whether party conference or maybe the party membership should have some input into that.
“What are we afraid of?
“I do not want us to go back to the days when the leadership was so divorced from the members it was a badge of honour to do things the membership didn’t like.”
News Source MirrorNews