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Senior Labour MPs were celebrating the return of “mainstream” voices to the party after the left lost influence on key Labour party groups.
A furious row with the Bakers’ Union (BFAWU) exploded today when they chose to disaffiliate from the party claiming leader Keir Starmer was waging a “factional internal war” and was taking the party to the right.
This came just days after the historic union, which has around 17,000 members and backed Jeremy Corbyn, were kicked off Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), in a vote and replaced with the Musicians’ Union.
A less high profile vote to elect members to the National Constitutional Committee (NCC) also saw gains for the party’s centre-ground.
Centre-ground group Labour to Win’s Arooj Shah and Judi Billing were both elected as constituency representatives to the body, which now has responsibility for assessing lower level disciplinary cases. The positions had previously been held by four people on the left of the party and backed by Momentum, including the NCC’s chair Anna Dyer.
Naomi Pohl, deputy general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said: “For us this is fantastic news to be represented on the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. We are quite a small union in the context of the union movement and we punch above our weight.
“Because we are smaller and our members are mostly self employed sometimes we struggle to get our issues across and this will be another chance to get those voices out there, particularly coming through the pandemic.”
She said their exact position on voting was yet to be ironed out as their position on the NEC had happened quickly, but they are “broadly supportive of Keir”.
A senior Labour MP said: “The Bakers union have been relentless in opposing Keir and the Musician’s Union are a more mainstream voice.
“The Bakers voted all the time with the left and they were then dumped by 400,000 votes.”
Another MP said: “If I’d known they were leaving I’d have baked a cake to celebrate the good news of a shift in balance and to ensure we are even more focused on policies, on winning and improving people’s lives in the future under a Labour government.”
On the NCC election, which elects groups of four people at a time, the Labour To Win group – considered to be pro-Starmer – has reduced the number of Momentum supported candidates.
They were voted on by constituency Labour party members across the country, which moderate organiser Luke Akehurst said was a small but important victory.
He said: “It’s not just moderates doing well at conference, it’s what’s going on within the constituency Labour party’s aswell and being able to reshape what Labour looks like, which is focusing on winning.
“That’s what’s happening around the country particularly in the biggest constituency parties.”
He said that in terms of vote share for this small election, Momentum got 49 per cent this year compared to 70 per cent in a similar election in 2019.
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