Jeremy Corbyn will secure an even greater mandate from Labour members if his opponents, who are motivated by “deep malice”, succeed in triggering a fresh leadership contest, the founder of the grassroots movement Momentum has said.
Jon Lansman, the veteran activist behind the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy and a key figure in the founding of Momentum, predicted that he would recruit even more supporters in the event of a contest.
“We will not just recruit everyone who voted for him as a registered supporter last time, we’ll recruit more,” he told the Guardian. “A lot more.”
Lansman was speaking as part of a report into the Momentum group, which was established by Corbyn’s allies after his victory in the leadership contest to maintain links with the new supporters.
Critics say that it is a modern era Bennite machine designed to deselect Labour MPs.
Momentum denies that it will seek to deselect Labour MPs as the hard left did in the 1980s. But Jackie Walker, the vice chair of Momentum’s national steering committee, said MPs should not be entitled to a job for life.
Walker said: “I wouldn’t talk about deselection. I’d talk about selection. I think selection of MPs is a really crucial issue.
“And I think we should have the right to select our MPs. I don’t see why MPs have a job for life. Do you have a job for life?”
Lansman said Momentum is not actively preparing for the consequences of a challenge against Corbyn. But he added: “We have to be prepared for that. I think it will be unsuccessful, because I’m absolutely confident that Jeremy has the support of the membership, and that we can beat off any challenge.”
The veteran activist said of Corbyn’s Labour critics: “The venom is pretty horrible. There really is deep malice inside some of the people who routinely attack him.”
This article was written by Nicholas Watt Chief political correspondent, and John Harris, for theguardian.com on Saturday 16th April 2016 10.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010