Britain: No-confidence motions passed against leading Blairite MPs

By Paul Mitchell
8 September 2018

Cheers greeted the passing of a no-confidence motion, by 94 votes to 92, on Thursday night at a meeting of Enfield North Labour Party against Blairite Labour MP, Joan Ryan. Ryan, who chairs the Zionist Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), has been at the forefront of the campaign to oust Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The same evening, Labour MP Gavin Shuker also lost a no-confidence vote after 33 members of his Luton South local party voted against him, with five abstaining and only three supporting him.

Ever since the failed 2016 leadership putsch against Corbyn, Ryan has been at the centre of the destabilisation campaign involving MI5, Mossad and the Central Intelligence Agency against the Labour leader. Her speciality is fabricating accusations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn and his supporters. The goal is to discredit socialism in the hope of preventing any challenge by the working class to austerity and the escalating pursuit of militarism and war in the Middle East and globally.

The no-confidence motion against Ryan took place despite an email dispatched earlier this week by the chair of the Enfield North Constituency Labour Party branch, Siddo Dwyer, claiming that the motion had been excluded from the agenda.

The motion declared, “Our MP has on numerous occasions contributed to and written articles that have been seized upon by a press unjustly hostile to Jeremy Corbyn.” It called on local party members to express “no confidence in our MP Joan Ryan” and “the removal of the party whip and an open selection process for our next parliamentary candidate.”

Ryan confirmed the anti-communist narrative that underpins the bogus anti-Semitism campaign against Corbyn’s supporters. Demonstrating her contempt for the membership, which in Enfield North has grown from 300 to 1,000 since Corbyn was elected leader, she tweeted that the narrow margin was “hardly [a] decisive victory and it never occurred to me that Trots, Stalinists, Communists and assorted hard left would gave [sic] confidence in me. I have none in them.”

According to the pro-Corbyn Skwawkbox blog, Ryan supporters intimidated members in charge of ballot-counting on the night—including threats of physical violence and at least one death threat.

Skwawkbox reported eyewitness accounts of a Ryan supporter lunging at a young Labour Party member, saying: “I will fucking kill you.” In a second incident against the same young person, a Ryan supporter “threatened to assault him and then lunged at him again”… “On both occasions, say shaken witnesses, the Ryan supporter had to be physically restrained by others to prevent an assault. The incidents were serious enough to be reported to the police.”

This incident confirms that the real source of anti-democratic violence and thuggery emanates from the right. Not a single mainstream media outlet—including the BBC and Guardian—has reported the attacks by Ryan supporters, as this would undercut their lying narrative portraying Blairite MPs as political martyrs.

In all the mainstream media coverage of Ryan, she is presented as the victim of the same “hard-left.” Little or nothing is said of her filthy political record.

Ryan first gained notoriety during the parliamentary expenses scandal that dominated the headlines a decade ago, after she claimed more than any other MP—£173,691 in 2007. In 2012, The Independent was still reporting that “[a]t least 10 attempts have been made from computers in Parliament to remove information about [Ryan’s] expense claims and a further 20 efforts to delete the information, some from her constituency of Enfield North, have also been recorded in Wikipedia’s logs.”

In 2008, as Labour’s vice-chair and prime minister Gordon Brown’s envoy to Cyprus, Ryan called for a leadership election as part of a group of 12 MPs affiliated to the Progress think-tank, seeking to replace him as prime minister for being insufficiently Blairite.

Most significant has been Ryan’s work as chair of Labour Friends of Israel, a lobby group that acts as a front for the Israeli embassy and is funded by it. Israel has been a key protagonist in the campaign against Corbyn and his support for the Palestinian cause.

In the film The Lobby, broadcast last year by Al Jazeera, LFI parliamentary officer Michael Rubin declares, “We work really closely together,” but “publicly we just try to keep the LFI as a separate identity to the embassy.”

Rubin revealed that Ryan was in almost daily contact with Shai Masot, an Israeli embassy staffer in London, caught on camera plotting to “take down” MPs perceived as hostile to Israel. Masot is also filmed discussing with leading figures in Conservative Friends of Israel, including Maria Strizzolo, a senior aide to Education Minister Robert Halfon and a former political director of CFI, about whether Strizzoli could help “take down” Foreign Office deputy, Sir Alan Duncan. The affair now looks like a practice run for the operation mounted against Corbyn.

Last month, Luton South MP Gavin Shuker was identified in the press as one of a dozen Labour MPs threatening to quit in the hope of triggering a no-confidence vote in Corbyn’s leadership. Others in the group include Liz Kendall, Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Iain Austin and Ruth Smeeth.

Friday morning saw their ideological leader, Tony Blair, confirm the anti-socialist agenda of the planned split. Echoing Ryan’s tweet, he told the BBC he was “not sure” whether it was possible for Labour “moderates” to take the party back from Corbyn’s supporters, who came from a tradition on the fringe of the party, including Communists and “Trotskyist groups” before suggesting the emergence of a new “progressive, moderate” party in time for the next general election.

Blair told the BBC’s Nick Robinson that voters would not “tolerate” a situation where the choice for the next leader of the UK was Corbyn or a Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson: “I don’t know what will happen and I don’t know how it will happen, but I just don’t think people will find that in the country as a whole an acceptable choice. Something will fill that vacuum.”

At the Enfield North meeting, Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members distributed copies of the WSWS perspective comment “ Reject the anti-Semitism slurs against Jeremy Corbyn! Drive out the Labour Party right wing! ” Many stopped to talk, explaining they wanted an end to domination by the right wing and a fight against austerity. One Labour Party member said he wanted young people to rise up against the high cost of rents and housing. Another thanked SEP campaigners for the leaflet saying it had an impact, and that young people had to drive out the right wing.

The no-confidence motions show the sentiment among thousands who have joined the Labour Party, but they have no official force and leave the right wing in place. The Blairites have no compunction over defying Labour members and will only go if they are forced out.

Frank Field, who quit the parliamentary party by resigning the Labour whip, faced a no-confidence motion in his Birkenhead constituency party. But he is refusing to stand down as a Labour MP.

Ryan declared following the vote, “Just to be clear, I am not resigning. I am Labour through and through and I will continue to stand up and fight for Labour values.”

Shuker tweeted a message to his constituents that the no-confidence vote was “not part of any formal procedure, so it changes nothing about my role as Labour MP for Luton South.”

Yet all Corbyn and the leaders of Momentum are calling for is “greater democratic accountability” in the selection process for MPs, in which Momentum “will work with NEC [National Executive Committee] members, the trade union movement, and [Constituency Labour Party] delegates” to “ensure the best possible rule change is passed at this year’s party conference to achieve this end.”

Instead of denouncing Blair as a war criminal plotting to split his party, Corbyn urged “Tony” to “recognise that the party membership is now much bigger than it’s ever been” and to understand that this reflects “aspirations” for social change and that “people are not prepared any longer to live in a society that’s so unequal.”

Blair is fully aware of this sentiment and, like his acolytes, is determined to prevent such aspirations cutting across the interests of the financial oligarchy. If Corbyn were serious about honouring the mandate he has been given, he would be urging Labour members to expel all right-wing MPs immediately.

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