Labour moderates oust Jeremy Corbyn supporters to seize key London leadership roles

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Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA) (PA Wire)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA) (PA Wire)

Labour Party moderates have seized control of key leadership positions in London after ousting a number of Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

Campaigners declared the party is “on the mend” as largely centre left candidates won 13 out of 16 posts that represent Constituency Labour Parties [CLPs] on the London regional board. They also won three out of four officer positions and the elections for chair and both vice-chairs at their conference this weekend.

The overhaul signals a major transfer of power from left-wingers who backed Jeremy Corbyn’s premiership to progressives supporting Sir Keir Starmer. It comes after the last election in 2019, when the party’s left-wing secured a takeover of the board.

The moderate candidates were backed by Labour to Win – an organisation that brings together the Labour First and Progressive Britain groups.

A senior London Labour party source told the Standard: “The last three or four years we’ve gone through ultra-leftism, talking to ourselves, navel gazing. In the real world – people are crying out for an alternative.”

A separate source said the independent left, centre left and various factions of the centre left came together to say “enough is enough”.

They said there had been a “real rejection” of the left’s style of politics and added: “We know we’ve got challenges, national Labour and London Labour, we’re not complacent.

“We need to be fit for purpose and under the previous regime we were not going to win or get the trust of voters. We need to attract some of those who walked away from us.”

London Assembly member Unmesh Desai told the Standard they wanted to put divisions “behind us”, and added: “The whole message from the conference was the overwhelming desire to be united, to put divisions behind us, to reconnect with the public, to be a credible alternative and to win.”

Labour councillor Josh Garfield added: “We’ve elected a regional board that cares about the party’s prospects, will take elections and governance seriously, and plans to look outwards to the voters. I’m confident the new London regional board will also help us continue to stamp out bigotry and antisemitism from local parties.”

Newly elected chair of the Regional Labour Executive Maggi Ferncombe said she wanted to work with “every section” of the party, adding: “We have a big challenge ahead of us but we live in the best city and the Labour Party will continue to work hard to deliver for all Londoners.”

Labour to Win said the results showed “just how much the Labour Party is changing under Keir Stamer”.

Mike Katz, national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, added: “This weekend saw London Labour members reject the politics of Corbyn and attempts to deny and downplay the antisemitism that arose under his leadership.

“The new board members back Keir Starmer’s drive to tackle antisemitism and detoxify party culture. This is an important political signal for all Londoners, not just the capital’s Jewish community.”

However, the event sparked criticism from the left over the way the online conference ended as an outgoing board member, Kathryn Johnson, had the “plug pulled” on her while she was giving her closing speech.

Outgoing vice chair Seema Chandwani commented: “The way the conference ended was embarrassing and unnecessary.”

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