Labour Party moderates plan influx of '100,000' new members to 'rebuild' party after election defeat

Bonnie Christian
PA

Senior Labour figures are reportedly planning to flood the party with 100,000 new members in an effort to seize back control from Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing stranglehold.

Mr Corbyn announced he would step down after a new leader is chosen “early next year” following the party’s worst general election result since 1935.

Alastair Campbell and Jess Phillips are said to be spearheading a new membership drive in a bid to “rebuild” the party.

Mr Campbell is the former communications chief to Tony Blair and was expelled from Labour after admitting he voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections.

According to the Sunday Times, he said members who had left under Corbyn “might be helpful both in the analysis and the aftermath”.

Jess Phillips, thought to be a likely leadership candidate, appeared to set out her pitch in the Observer on Sunday. She appealed to people to join Labour to change it, arguing that many working-class people do not believe Labour is better than the Tories.

She tweeted on Saturday: “I don’t know what is going to happen but I know we need people in this fight.

“If you are upset with the result or if you are upset with the party you need to join. Labour members have actual power. You can change this.”

A former Labour MP told the Times: “There is a massive effort to get Labour moderates to join and rejoin. They think the magic number is 100,000 to elect a moderate leader and are launching a massive online drive to attract the required support.”

A “rebuild and rejoin” Twitter account urges followers to “think of three people who have left the party (and another) three who said they would vote under Labour under a different leader (and) ask them to rejoin”.

Lisa Nandy also laid out an apparent leadership pitch in the Observer on Sunday saying the party had lost touch with the day-to-day lives of the people it wishes to represent.

Writing in the Observer, Ms Phillips appealed to people to join Labour to change it, arguing that many working-class people do not believe Labour is better than the Tories.

While Ms Nandy said the party had lost touch with the day-to-day lives of the people it wishes to represent.

It comes as former Labour MPs and party veterans rounded on Mr Corbyn following Thursday’s defeat.

Ex-MPs Anna Turley and Helen Goodman and former shadow cabinet minister Jenny Chapman attacked the Labour leader as the reason voters cast their ballot for another party.

Ms Turley, who lost her seat in Redcar on Thursday, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "For me, when you're getting four doors in a row of lifelong Labour voters saying 'I'm sorry Anna, I'm a lifelong Labour voter, I like what you've done, but I just can't vote for that man to be prime minister', I'm afraid that's a fundamental barrier that we just couldn't get across."

Ex-shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman, another former Labour MP who lost her seat in Darlington, also attacked the party leadership.

She said: "You can't run a political party that wants to be a party of government but only really appeals to about a third of the electorate and those people that live in cities who are fairly well-off people.”

Senior Labour figures are plotting to end Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing stranglehold on the party by flooding it with 100,000 new members to elect a moderate new leader.

As the battle for the control of Labour’s future begins, moderates joined a campaign to encourage former members to “rejoin and rebuild” the party.

Former Labour MP for Bishop Auckland Helen Goodman, who lost a seat she has held since 2005, laid the blame for Labour’s loss firmly at Corbyn’s door.

“The biggest factor was obviously the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. The fact of the matter is that Jeremy Corbyn failed as a communicator, whatever his good personal qualities, and he undoubtedly has good personal qualities, he failed as a communicator,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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