News: Union withdraws funds to Bristol’s Labour MPs

Louis Emanuel, July 13, 2016

Bristol’s Communication Workers Union has confirmed it will pull funding to the city’s Labour MPs for their part in the “coup” to oust leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In a sign of deepening divisions in Bristol, branch secretary Rob Wotherspoon singled out Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire, saying she’s “not welcome back” at the campaign office in Lawrence Hill.

The move follows reports of a feisty constituency Labour Party meeting last week where Debbonaire spoke of threats and a long-standing Labour member claimed she was reduced to tears by the “toxic” atmosphere.

Debbonaire voted in favour of no confidence in Corbyn alongside fellow Bristol Labour MPs Kerry McCarthy and Karin Smyth, and 80 per cent of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

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Read more: ‘Toxic Labour Party meeting ‘close to bullying’

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Representatives from the CWU Bristol branch, which has 3,000 members, voted unanimously to halt payments to all three MPs last Wednesday and the decision was ratified this week. Their plans were announced at a pro-Corbyn rally on June 29.

Wotherspoon said: “If someone wishes to stand against the leader there is a process for that – and there will be an election, which is entirely fair. We would expect Jeremy to be returned with an increased mandate.

“These MPs did not bother to meet with their local parties or supporting trade unions before getting involved in this failed coup, who would have overwhelmingly opposed such action.

Clockwise from right: Jeremy Corbyn, Thangam Debbonaire, Kerry McCarthy, Karin Smyth

“This is such a slap in the face for Jeremy who visited Bristol several times and clearly won a lot of votes for Labour in the mayoral election.”

Corbyn visited Bristol at least three times in the run-up to Marvin Rees’ election as mayor and once immediately afterwards.

Bristol reportedly had one of the highest number of new Labour members outside of London after Corbyn was elected as leader last year.

Former CWU communications manager Kevin Slocombe, who also managed Rees’ press relations in the 2012 mayoral election, was brought in to Corbyn’s inner circle as part of his press team when he became Labour leader.

 

Read more: ‘That is not the Labour Party I know and love’

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