Momentum founder complains of ‘stitch up’ over Labour’s Brexit position

Jeremy Corbyn leaving Brighton Beach Club during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre.

Jeremy Corbyn leaving Brighton Beach Club during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Despite denials that Labour was at 'war' over Brexit, one of Jeremy Corbyn's backers has claimed the votes on the party's Brexit position have become a 'stitch-up'.

Following the cancellation of an early morning meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) Momentum's founder Jon Lansman has tweeted he is "incredibly disappointed" with the process that led to the party filing a statement on Brexit to be presented to members.

In a direct challenge of Jeremy Corbyn's ambivalence on Brexit Lansman said: "There was no meeting, no discussion, no consultation with the membership".

He continued: "On one of the biggest issues of the day, this is a travesty."

In comments supported by a number of big Corbyn backers, he continued: "Across the membership there are many different views on Brexit, and on [the] conference floor members should feel free to vote with their conscience".

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Despite Momentum continuing to support the leader on the floor, Lansman's comments that this could be a free vote for its members.

Left-wing commentator Owen Jones backed Lansman: "Agreed. I can see the arguments for and against, but what matters is democracy is supposed to reign supreme in the new Labour Party, and members should vote with their hearts."

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Ash Sarkar also agreed, responding: "Nobody got involved with the movement just to see it designated as a cheer squad for machine politics."

It comes as it was revealed key union Unison have decided to back the pro-Remain motion at conference. It means that the Remain motion could become party policy.

John McDonnell denied that Labour is at war over Brexit, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I smiled when you used the language earlier of civil war and revolt but there isn't any war in the Labour Party. It's about honest, democratic debate.

"People have high emotions on this because they feel it's important. But that's not people respecting each other's views as well. I keep saying: do not mistake democracy for division. It isn't - what we're having is an honest debate."

On Friday evening Lansman was accused himself of a "stitch-up" after he attempted to oust deputy leader Tom Watson.

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