Britain in turmoil: Brexit and the Labour coup – live updates

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Events are moving at lightning speed. Decisive action is required and socialist ideas can be a powerful rallying point. We will be updating this page as events unfold to help guide those who want to defend Corbyn and fight for socialism. The system is broken, we need a revolution!


 

Wednesday 29 June – 14:00

RMT Young Members’ statement:

We want to build a real future for ordinary working people in this country. It is a disgrace that some in the Parliamentary Labour Party seem intent on building a future only for themselves. Jeremy has always stood by us so young railway workers of every grade feel proud to do the same for him.

Wednesday 29 June – 11:40

Enormous support on Twitter for deselection of the 172 MPs who voted no confidence in Corbyn. Check out the hashtag #DeselectThem to see the gulf opening up between the PLP and the membership. Here’s a selection:

Wednesday 29 June – 11:31

Ewan McGregor backs Corbyn

Wednesday 29 June – 11:24

Demos yesterday in Bristol and Leeds to #KeepCorbyn have boosted spirits and mobilised even more people.

Bristol demo

Tuesday 28 June – 16:31

An indication of the balance of forces in the Parliamentary Labour Party: Corbyn has lost a vote of no confidence in his leadership by 172 votes to 40. Meanwhile rank and file activists all over the country continue to organise to support him.

Tuesday 28 June – 15:49

The following statement can be found on the website of Disabled People Against the Cuts:

As three of the disabled people and the parent of a fourth who in 2013 and 2014 brought legal challenges to the decisions by Conservative ministers to close the UK-wide Independent Living Fund, we are concerned by the developments in the Labour Party over the weekend and the threat to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Throughout our campaign to save the Independent Living Fund, Jeremy Corbyn was unstinting in his support for the continuation of the Fund, and issued a statement on the day of closure in June 2015 pledging to campaign for its reinstatement.

The democratic election of Jeremy Corbyn last September instilled hope among many disabled people and their families that the Labour Party had turned a corner, and would campaign hard to stop further austerity and cuts to public services and benefits.

A number of Judicial Reviews brought in recent years reflect the impact public service cuts are having on the lives of disabled people and their families. While legal challenges are sometimes successful, they cannot achieve the impact and change an effective political campaign can.

Rather than sow further division, we would urge Labour MPs to remember who austerity and public sector cuts are hitting the hardest, and the lives now being destroyed by them.

There is a desperate need for unity among working class people of all ages and backgrounds, and we need the Labour Party and its MPs to consider their responsibility and duty of care towards those who will continue to face the consequences if we fail to end austerity now.

This is only possible if the Labour Party unites behind Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and works in unity with the trade unions and disability campaigners to build a political movement to achieve this.

Anne Pridmore, Gabriel Pepper, Paul Taylforth and Stuart Bracking

Tuesday 28 June – 15:43

In a welcome move Scottish Young Labour have called on Kezia Dugdale to support Corbyn in the face of the Blairite coup

Tuesday 28 June – 15:00

A Labour MP has called for Momentum to be banned from the Labour Party because he considers it threatening right-wing Labour MPs. In reality of course Momentum is simply defending the democratically elected leader of the Party against coup threats from the Blairites.

Meanwhile East London Momentum Youth and Students have called a meeting to organise the deselection of Blairite MPs from the Labour Party.

Tuesday 28 June – 13:47

Research shows that Labour members back deselection for MPs who rebel against Corbyn: http://labourlist.org/2016/06/new-members-back-deselection-for-mps-who-rebel-against-corbyn-new-study-shows/

Tuesday 28 June – 13:26

This is a good statement from the Labour Students BAME cacucus in defence of Corbyn:

As the autonomous Labour Students BAME Caucus we would like to express our sadness as to the events of the past few days and send our upmost solidarity to the democratically elected Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn. We believe that these attacks on Jeremy have been unfounded and generated due to the fact that both Hilary Benn and Alan Johnson said that Jeremy’s test over the referendum campaign was to convince Labour members and young voters to vote remain, and in both groups they overwhelmingly did.

We believe that the co-ordinated resignations today are nothing short of a witch hunt and will do nothing but disengage more Labour voters than the EU referendum campaign ever did. Now is a time for our party to focus on the failure of the Tories in this referendum and for their pro-austerity, classist and racist message.

As BAME members we understand the politics of exclusion and hate, and Jeremy represents the cure to that. He has both been a lifelong anti-racism campaigner and an unapologetic supporter of minority rights, he is the leader that will allow us to connect with the public, not the politics of the last Labour establishment that lost us massive swathes of votes after multiple general election campaigns.

For a socialist Britain free of fear and xenophobia as Labour Students BAME caucus we call for the party to unite and take the fight to the real enemy, the Tories and UKIP.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

In solidarity
Labour Students BAME Caucus

Tuesday 28 June – 11:48

A letter of no confidence in the Chair of London Young Labour (LYL), Ben Butterworth, has been gathering signatures after he deliberately misrepresented the views of London Young Labour members by releasing a statement in the name of LYL demanding that Corbyn resign.

The full letter of no confidence and instructions on how to sign is here: https://medium.com/@JonsOmnibus/letter-of-no-confidence-in-benjamin-butterworth-as-lyl-chair-6301a963147a#.liegj56jn

Tuesday 28 June  – 11:19

The Tory business secretary is having a meeting today to discuss the impact of the Brexit vote on British businesses. The TUC asked to be invited but were told they were not welcome. This is a stark reminder that Brexit will not mean an end to austerity and attacks on workers’ rights, as some on the Left were implying during the campaign. The only way forward for socialists is with clarity about the need for industrial and political struggle by the working class as the only way to defend workers’ rights.

Tuesday 28 June – 11:07

Former NUS Scotland President, Gordon Maloney, says Blairite MP Ian Murray joked about ‘evicting’ Corbyn before the leadership election. What is happening in the Labour party now is not about the Brexit result – these right-wingers have wanted Corbyn gone from day one because he is the first Labour party leader in 80 years who is not under the direct control of the establishment. See Gordon’s statement here:

I had kept this (mostly) to myself out of a kind of professional courtesy, but since he’s thrown that oot the windae I might as well too.

About a week before the Labour leadership election was finished, I had a meeting with Ian Murray MP about rent controls. I had a fairly rehearsed shpiel that included this sob story about the devastating human cost of poor housing, and specifically about illegal evictions.

I was telling him a story about someone we’d met on a stall who’d been evicted and it had basically ruined their whole life, and halfway through he interrupted me to say, winking “well, hopefully if Corbyn wins we can *evict* him from the leadership.”

I take two things from this: firstly that, for loads of these people, this is all a daft game – politics, the fight against austerity and poverty, our lives; and secondly that this chat from the Labour right about having wanted to give Corbyn a chance but this just being the final straw is complete bollocks. They wanted him out from the start, and that’s where this all comes from.

Things are terrible, but Corbyn and the movement he represents are one of the best things about the Left anywhere in Europe. Two polls have come out since the referendum, one with Labour neck-and-neck with the Tories, and the other with Labour ahead, but these idiots would rather lose the election than win it on a socialist platform. That’s why the Blairites are doing this, and we can’t let them.

Tuesday 28 June – 10:42

An update on events in Leeds:

  1. There is a Momentum backed #KeepCorbyn demo tonight at 6pm in Millennium Square.
  2. There is a defend Corbyn organising meeting tonight at 7pm in Leeds Civic Hall
  3. There is a Marxist society meeting on the Brexit Crisis and the Labour coup on Thursday at 6:30pm in the Victoria Hotel

Tuesday 28 June – 10:31

The following letter has been sent to Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, from the RMT Wigan branch:

Dear Lisa,

I have just heard the news that you have resigned from the Labour shadow cabinet. This news fills both myself and the Wigan RMT branch with great disappointment and with disillusionment.

As a branch, Wigan RMT have always supported you and indeed promoted you as an MP who represented our aims as a union and indeed as part of the broader socialist movement against public service cuts and austerity in general.

It is with a heavy heart and great regret that i send this email to you. Myself and my branch have always regarded you as a great supporter of both our union and our ideals to promote the aspirations and aims of the working class, dispossessed and disenfranchised decent people of this nation. Your decision to resign and undermine the democratic mandate of Jeremy Corbyn is a huge let down to both my union , the RMT and also the wider working class movement in general.

At a time when working class people and the left wing movement in Britain need unity , solidarity and cohesion , the disgraceful plot to remove Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour leadership is an unwelcome and unneeded distraction. The plot to rid Labour of its leadership beggars belief and is totally out of tune with the mood of the public at large.

The people of Britain did not reject the EU , simply because of right wing sympathy and belief. They rejected the EU on many fronts , namely the imposition of privatisation, an agenda of cutting public services , the promotion of free movement of Labour that as undermined the collective bargaining power of British workers.

Finally as an MP whose constituency returned a leave the EU vote of 63% , how can you have the audacity to call for Jeremy Corbyn’s head , when your own electorate voted massively against your own position.

With a heavy heart , I call on you to resign your position as the MP for Wigan. You have failed to understand the will of your constituents. To compound that failure , you have sought to blame your leader and use him as a scapegoat for the failings of the parliamentary Labour Party. This is both morally and politically illegitimate and undermines the democratic process of both the Labour party and the nation.

Yours sincerely
Wigan RMT Branch

Tuesday 28 June – 10:18

Wallasey CLP, the constituency of Angela Eagle MP, who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet yesterday in a deliberate attempt to undermine Corbyn, agreed by 40 votes to 4 at their AGM yesterday to send the following letter to Angela Eagle:

Hello Angela

At the CLP AGM on Friday 24th June 2016, delegates asked me to write to you to ask you to reject the motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. The meeting was overwhelmingly behind Jeremy continuing as Labour leader. Your appearance on TV during the post referendum programme was mentioned. Your response in putting the question of his leadership aside to deal with the issues was welcomed. The idea that the Labour Party would rather miss the chance to capitalise on the splits in the Tory party by in fighting was not acceptable to members.
On behalf of the constituency I would ask you to make a clear public statement of support for him.
Regards

Kathy Miller & Kathy Runswick
Secretary & Chair Wallasey CLP

Tuesday 28 June – 10:00

After last night’s demonstrations in London and Newcastle, with 10,000 people attending the former with just 24h notice, the gulf between the Parliamentary Labour Party and ordinary Labour members has never been more clear. Here’s a report from a comrade who attended the Newcastle demo:

There were around 350-400 people at Newcastle’s Grey’s Monument tonight at the impromptu Defend Corbyn Rally. Most significantly there were a large number of new people. The mood was very enthusiastic and positive.

Many people we spoke to were of the opinion that the right wing coup plotters can be defeated. Also that they had merely managed to raise the stakes and give a renewed impetus to the movement around Corbyn.

Various Councillors and Momentum people spoke, alongside People’s Assembly and Stop the War people.

The Marxist Society has called a meeting for this Wednesday night and there will be a further Defend Corbyn meeting organised by Momentum this Thursday.

Monday 27 June – 17:30

The #KeepCorbyn rally called by Momentum outside Parliament starts in half an hour. We’ll be heading down there so follow @MarxistStudent on Twitter and marxiststudent on Instagram to keep up to date with what’s going on there.

Monday 27 June – 17:11

Momentum have sent out the following email to activists. Tell your MP that if they back a motion of no confidence in Corbyn they’re no longer welcome as a parliamentary representative of the Labour Party.

The country is in crisis, now more than ever we need the Labour party to be united in order to ensure the Tories don’t use Brexit as an excuse to erode the rights of workers and migrants.
Please help us in our call for party unity by contacting your MP any way you can and urging them to stop this irresponsible coup which betrays both the party membership and the electorate.
Tweet, ring or email your MP’s office before, during and after the meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party at 6pm tonight and urge them to remain loyal to the democratically elected leadership so that we can effectively take the fight to the Tories. Please keep messages comradely and constructive with no personal abuse.

Monday 27 June – 17:06

At PMQs in the House of Commons – taking place at the moment – all those Labour MPs who have resigned from the shadow cabinet are being cheered by politicians of both parties when called to speak. A disgusting spectacle that just confirms how out of touch the vast majority of the Westminster bubble really is: the most popular people in Parliament amongst most MPs are the ones making it hardest for Corbyn to fight the Tories and end austerity.

Monday 27 June – 16:40

Here are three graphs from the BBC website which reflect the enormous crisis British capitalism is facing at the present time:

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Monday 27 June – 16:27

What is likely to happen to the Labour Party next?

Tonight, at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Labour MPs are likely to agree to hold a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as leader. This vote will, scandalously, be taken by a secret ballot tomorrow (because these right-wingers are too cowardly to let everyone know how they are voting). The Blairites are likely to win this vote.

They will then use this vote to try to pressure Corbyn to resign as leader because if he resigns then he will not be on the ballot for a new leadership election. The leadership candidate of choice for the Blairites seems to be the almost unknown Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, presumably because the rest of the better known Blairites are totally discredited with the Party membership. Apparently Nandy already has the support of the  requisite number of MPs to trigger a leadership election now, but this has not happened yet because they know that in any election in which Corbyn is on the ballot, the Blairites will lose. Thus the right-wing plan is to bully and undermine Corbyn until he resigns so as to keep him off the ballot.

If we are to stop this it will require mobilisation on the part of ordinary Labour members in Momentum, CLP, ward and union meetings. We need to kick the Blairites out the party by deselecting the right-wing MPs and uniting around a bold socialist programme and Corbyn’s leadership.

Monday 27 June – 16:12

An anonymous post on social media:

All Labour MPs involved in coup should be deselected. They are a fifth column who are prepared to wipe out the socialist movement for their own careers. Corbyn is the best chance Labour has at reelection. Any return to Blairism or Brownism means the end of Labour as a force in British politics.

Couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Monday 27 June – 16:05

The divide between the right-wing Labour MPs and ordinary Labour party members and supporters could not be more clear at the moment. As one activist put it:

All of the bullying and pressure and blackmail on the inside of the party apparatus and in the press is the complete opposite of the palpable fury all over social media among ordinary members and the general public. Everyone I know political or not is angry and wants to know how to defend Jeremy

The mood for deselection of the right-wingers, unity around Corbyn and bringing down the Tory government is clearly there. We need bold and decisive leadership to make this a reality.

Monday 27 June – 15:53

A reminder for those in Newcastle – there’s a protest at 5:30pm at Grey’s Monument to defend Corbyn. Facebook event here. See you there.

Monday 27 June – 15:46

Hackney Momentum is leading the way with this statement:

We will organise an Emergency meeting to discuss action to support Jeremy within Hackney. It will be on Wednesday evening. Offers of venues would be welcome.

But it is also key to get to the local Labour Party AGMs on Thursday evening. There will be motions in support of Jeremy and other important votes. If you are in Hackney South then all members can vote (in Hackney North you need to be a delegate to vote). If you’re not a member then there is still time to join if you’d like to take part.

Every local Momentum group should be calling emergency meetings to organise a local defence of Corbyn through deselection of right-wing MPs.

Monday 27 June – 15:28

The pound has hit a 31-year low against the dollar. The stock and currency markets are, at least partly, a reflection of the psychology of the ruling class. Clearly the capitalists are extremely pessimistic about the future of the British economy because they can see no clear way out of the crisis. This is because capitalism is to blame for this situation and there is no way to fix it as long as this system persists.

Monday 27 June – 15:25

The Leave vote in the referendum was, at least in part, a howl against an out-of-touch political elite whose establishment political bubble seems to be a million miles away from most people’s lives. Today a handful of academics and lawyers have suggested that the Article 50 trigger to remove Britain from the EU can only be initiated by Parliament, not the government. This is designed to give fuel to the Remain camp’s argument that Parliament could ignore the result of the referendum.

Leaving the EU is no solution for all those people desperate for a change to the status quo, but if Westminster politicians ignore the protest that millions of people have made via this referendum then they are inviting huge numbers of people to draw revolutionary conclusions.

Monday 27 June – 15:17

The BBC is reporting that 57 Labour candidates from the 2015 election have signed a letter calling on Corbyn to resign. This includes 9 from Scotland – the same people who were on the sharpest end of Labour’s failure to connect with working class voters! Have these people forgotten that it was decades of betrayals by right-wing Labour leaders that have pushed Labour into 3rd place in behind the Tories in Scotland? Radical socialist policies are the only way Labour can regain its position in Scotland – its parliamentary candidates joining a coup against a left-wing party leader will only damage Labour in Scotland even further.

Monday 27 June – 15:08

Momentum need to take up the fight in a big way now. Deselection of those MPs trying to undermine Corbyn has to be top of the agenda. Local Momentum groups should be calling meetings to discuss this question. Leadership needs to come from the national committee of Momentum. Ben Gliniecki, a member of Momentum’s youth and students national committee had this to say,:

As a member of Momentum’s national youth and students committee I have written to the rest of the committee members with the following proposal. I’d encourage everyone to take up these proposals and share them (especially the model resolution) widely.

“Comrades,

I think it’s essential that we act immediately to do what we can to defend Corbyn’s leadership of the Party. This is what we were elected to do as the youth and students committee of Momentum.

I think we should do the following right away:

1. Formally support Momentum’s ‪#‎KeepCorbyn‬ demo tomorrow and mobilise as many young people as possible to attend.

2. Launch a campaign to defend Corbyn by passing resolutions like the model one below in as many ward, CLP and union branch meetings as possible. This has to be a campaign for the deselection of those MPs who are more interested in removing the elected leader of our Party than they are in bringing down the Tory government.

Model resolution:

“Now is one of the best opportunities we have for bringing down the Tory government. This depends on us uniting around the elected leader of the Party, Jeremy Corbyn, to make this happen.

“We express a complete lack of confidence in any Labour MP who derails our efforts to fight the Tories by attempting to undermine Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Party. We fully endorse all efforts to deselect these MPs as representatives of the Labour Party in Parliament and call for them to be replaced by members who are willing to faithfully represent the will of the Party membership.””

Monday 27 June – 15:00

A leading German economist has said that Brexit will dampen Germany’s economic activity, starting now, due to the uncertainty it has created. The ruling class internationally is paying a high price for Cameron’s losing gamble with this referendum.

Monday 27 June – 14:55

A reminder for those in London that there is a pro-Corbyn demo tonight outside Parliament at 6pm. Facebook event here. See you there.

Monday 27 June – 14:45

Some very dodgy maneuvers taking place in London Young Labour (LYL) at the moment. A rogue member of the LYL executive posted a statement calling on Corbyn to resign on the LYL website in the name of the whole London Young Labour organisation, without consultation with the rest of the committee or the membership.

Rachael Ward, also on the LYL committee had this to say:

I think it’s really important that you know that London Young Labour has issued a statement calling for Jeremy’s resignation, without any consultation or notification with the committee whatsoever. This is a gross abuse of the power of whoever has to access to the website, and in my opinion a resigning matter as it is just a bare-faced lie, at a time when this could be picked up the press.

Several members of the committee have raised this on our Exec group, despite it being posted under the ‘chairs’ account our chair Ben Butterworth has blamed it on someone else who denies it. Ben also maintains it ‘is clearly the position of the committee’ and will not take it down. I feel very angry about this and so should you.

It seems that, at every level of the Labour Party, there are no depths of bureaucratic maneuvering and anti-democratic measures to which the Blairites won’t sink.

Monday 27 June – 14:38

Those in Wigan who are keen to defend Corbyn and fight for socialism should act now to remind Nandy that Corbyn was elected by the overwhelming majority of Labour members. Those who attempt to destabilise him now, at a time when Labour could be organising to bring down the Tory government, are unfit to represent Labour members. If Nandy tried to unseat Corbyn she should face deselection by her CLP.

Monday 27 June – 14:30

Lisa Nandy, the MP for Wigan, is rumoured to be the candidate who still stand against Corbyn in a new leadership contest. Previously she has been identified as being on the so-called “Left” of the Party and last year columnist Owen Jones was keen on her standing in the Labour leadership campaign.

Monday 27 June – 14:00

A round up of events so far: following the Brexit vote and Cameron’s resignation, the Tory party is in deep crisis. Johnson, Gove and the other Tory Leave campaigners have no plan, are rowing back on their promises and rapidly discrediting themselves.

Meanwhile the pound continues to tumble and market uncertainty reigns. This is a reflection of the uncertainty for British capitalism, European capitalism and the whole world economy.

The right-wing of the Labour Party have decided that now is a good time to launch their coup against Corbyn, using the Brexit vote as an excuse. Mass resignations from the shadow cabinet have accompanied a media blitz against Corbyn, plus a vote of no confidence which is being tabled at the PLP meeting tonight. This has enraged hundreds of thousands of people who voted for Corbyn as Labour leader and who are now mobilising to defend him.