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Labour MP says Momentum ‘not needed to win election’

Labour MP says Momentum ‘not needed to win election’

A Labour MP has said the party does not need Momentum to win elections after a row broke out about a colleague helping to set up a branch for her seat. Chris Williamson went to launch a Momentum branch covering Redcar Credit: PA Images   Critics argued Chris Williamson should not have been launching a Momentum group for

A Labour MP has said the party does not need Momentum to win elections after a row broke out about a colleague helping to set up a branch for her seat.

Chris WilliamsonChris Williamson went to launch a Momentum branch covering Redcar Credit: PA Images

 

Critics argued Chris Williamson should not have been launching a Momentum group for Redcar and visiting the area without informing the MP Anna Turley.

But Mr Williamson insisted he launched the branch in a neighbouring constituency – although he made clear to PoliticsHome he did not care for parliamentary protocol on visiting others’ seats.

On Sunday Mr Williamson, who is an ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted that he was heading to Redcar to launch the group.

Just on my way to Redcar to help launch a new @PeoplesMomentum group up there

But Ms Turley revealed she was not informed prior to the visit, and said: “I’m not bothered. But courtesy would be nice.”

She added: “Labour can campaign with grassroots activity and win without Momentum.”

And Labour can campaign with grassroots activity and win without Momentum.

Fellow MP and former frontbencher Lucy Powell also piled in on Twitter, telling Mr Williamson his behaviour “does not help us unite and fight the Tories”.

But Mr Williamson insisted he was visiting the neighbouring Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency.

What are you doing going to a colleague’s area to do this without speaking to them? This does not help us unite and fight the Tories.

The meeting was in the Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East constituency Lucy where our candidate was the excellent @tracy_harvey pic.twitter.com/eZo4rdlsRD

View image on Twitter

Ms Turley refused to back down, saying it would have been “courtesy” to let her know if he was launching a group that would be active in her area, even if he did not visit it himself.

Parliamentary convention says an MP should “be informed” if another member intends to visit their constituency – regardless of the reason.

But Derby North MP Mr Williamson told PoliticsHome in response to the protocol: “I don’t live in a Westminster bubble.”

LABOUR AND MOMENTUM ‘INDIVISIBLE’

On Ms Turley’s comments about Momentum, he said: “The more Labour activists the better.

“But Momentum were absolutely pivotal in this election and it’s fantastic. And they are one and the same. Momentum activists are Labour activists. They are indivisible, really.

“Some people may not associate directly with or become members of Momentum but Momentum activists are Labour party members – so there’s not really an issue.”

A Momentum spokesperson told PoliticsHome: “Labour pulled off an extraordinary comeback in the general election in June when members across the party came together to knock on doors and talk to voters about our vision for transforming the country.

“We hope going forward we can continue in that spirit to help deliver a Labour government when the next election is called.”

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