Labour civil war: Starmer issues final ultimatum to clear out ‘poisonous’ Corbynistas

Keir Starmer meets former Labour voter who doesn’t know him

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The National Executive Committee (NEC), the governing body of the Labour Party that sets the overall strategic direction of the party and policy development, will be a key component in this. They will be asked to proscribe four groups connected with Labour that promote communism, claim antisemitism allegations are overstated and demand former leader Jeremy Corbyn has the party whip restored. Success with this could provide a huge boost in Sir Keir Starmer’s plans to reform the party as any Labour member who remains publicly affiliated with the groups could be expelled.

Insiders told The Times this could even run into hundreds of members.

The newspaper has reported those likely to be banned include Resist and Labour Against the Witchhunt, which claim that antisemitism allegations were politically motivated.

Another reportedly in danger is Labour in Exile, which welcomes expelled or suspended members, while openly communist Socialist Appeal could also fall under the axe.

A Labour source told The Times the targeted groups held “poisonous” views that do not fit with the party’s values.

They said: “Some of these groups are organised and directed by people who have been expelled from Labour.

“Their stated purpose is to seek to undermine our processes and procedures and they take positions that the Equality and Human Rights Commission report defined as antisemitic.”

The NEC is holding a crunch meeting on Tuesday to discuss the plans, which are expected to pass.

But Sir Keir will likely face a huge backlash with another Labour civil war ensuing, and will also raise tensions on the far left ahead of Labour’s annual conference in Brighton, which begins on September 25.

A Labour spokesman said: “Labour is a broad, welcoming and democratic party and we are committed to ensuring it stays that way.”

Sir Keir took over as Labour leader from Mr Corbyn in April 2020 following a disastrous general election result just months before that handed Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party a huge 80-seat majority in the House of Commons.

He quickly came under pressure over his leadership style and suffered a huge blow in May after Labour lost the Hartlepool by-election – another of its once untouchable ‘Red Wall’ seats.

Labour bounced back earlier this month by narrowly winning the Batley and Spen by-election in West Yorkshire.

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The latest move to rejuvenate Labour comes as the party’s new election expert warned it has to win over “hero voters” such as van drivers and shop workers and rebuild the Red Wall.

Last week, pollster Deborah Mattinson gave an hour-long presentation to the shadow cabinet as the party looks to pump life into its strategy following the devastating Hartlepool by-election loss.

She was appointed by Sir Keir two months ago, and previously was chief pollster to former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The polling expert is also the author of a book entitled Beyond the Red Wall: Why Labour Lost, How the Conservatives Won and What Will Happen Next?

Ms Mattinson has now identified “hero voters” as the way for Labour to recapture constituencies lost by the party during the last general election in December 2019, and will present her full findings to members at the party conference in September.

One shadow cabinet source told The Times: “It’s a bit of an odd expression but her analysis is spot-on.

“Our messaging has been too broad. We’ve been trying to appeal to too many people. We need to focus on Tory voters in red wall seats.”

Another insider added: “During the pandemic the heroes were the van drivers, the shop workers, the people who kept us going.

“This is about saying, ‘We’ve got a better offer to make to these voters than the Tories.’ People are fed up with the culture wars.”

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