Ken Livingstone urges Jeremy Corbyn to allow party members to deselect dissenting MPs

Exclusive: ‘All they’ve done is stab him in the back and now they are stabbing him in the front’

by Ashley Cowburn

ken-livingstoneKen Livingstone accused the ‘ghastly Blairities’ in the Labour party of betraying their leader Getty Images

Ken Livingstone has urged Jeremy Corbyn to allow party members and activists to deselect dissenting MPs in the wake of a bruising no-confidence vote that has destabilised the party’s leadership.

The former London mayor, who is one of Mr Corbyn’s closest friends in politics, made the claim after the embattled Labour leader shrugged off a blistering defeat in a vote of no confidence.

Labour MPs voted by a margin of 172 to 40 to pass the motion, making a leadership challenge highly likely. It is unclear, however, whether Mr Corbyn will automatically receive a place on the ballot.

“All they’ve done is stab him in the back and now they are stabbing him in the front,” Mr Livingstone told The Independent as he accused the “ghastly Blairities” in the parliamentary Labour party of betraying their leader.

Mr Livingstone, who is currently suspended from the party pending an internal investigation into anti-semitism claims, added that Mr Corbyn “should bring back automatic reselection”.

“Up until Blair got in local parties could choose their candidate before each general election, so that kept MPs focused on keeping their party membership behind them. Party members must have the right to get rid of their MP,” continued Mr Livingstone.

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