Momentum’s Southwark branch has denied it is plotting to oust long-serving Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman after its convenor described her constituency as ‘no longer a Canute-like hold-out’.
In How the left won Harriet Harman’s constituency, published on Clarion Magazine online, Southwark Momentum Convenor Chris Bright shared the news that that at Camberwell and Peckham’s Labour Party AGM on June 21, out of fifteen constituency officers’ positions, twelve were won by Corbyn-supporting candidates.
He went on to say ‘the tide of change in the Labour Party is continuing and Camberwell & Peckham is no longer a Canute-like hold-out.’
Mr Bright’s comments have been perceived by commentators that Harman could face deselection in the next general election.
Speaking to the News today, he denied that his words were meant to be inflammatory and downplayed the idea of division within the party.
He said that although there had been some tension in the past, there is now ‘a broad consensus’, about the move to the left, especially given that eight of the candidates elected for positions stood unopposed.
“A lot of London Labour parties had loyalists to Tony Blair and his legacy, and people felt a bit threatened and were pushing back,” he admitted.
“New councillors are in line with how things could be, and a lot of existing councillors are coming on board.
“I think it’s fair to say there is a sea change in the council too.”
He says membership in Camberwell and Peckham has surged from 500 to 3,000 in the last three years, and Momentum wants to capitalise on their energy with more emphasis on grass-roots campaigning on local issues and industrial action, with social media playing a key role in amplifying their voice.
Internally, he said the party was striving to be more open, with members more involved in decision making.
Southwark Momentum will be targeting Green supporters with renewed campaigns focused on regeneration and low pay – and industrial action.
“There are numerous plans for the Old Kent Road, and we want to make sure that regeneration is in the interests of the people who live here,” he told the News.
“Low pay is a huge issue in London – as is precarious employment.
“Our message is don’t just vote Labour – join Labour’.
Harriet Harman was approached for comment but not respond.