Labour grandees plan to flood the party with 100,000 moderate members

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair

Labour grandees including Alastair Campbell plan to flood the party with 100,000 moderate members to wrestle back control from Corbyistas

  • Momentum is plotting to replace Mr Corbyn with another hard-left leader
  • Jess Phillips MP has pleaded with Blairite deserters to come back to the party 
  • Centrists have drawn up a strategy to swamp the party with 100,000 members  

Labour moderates are plotting to swamp the party with 100,000 like-minded members to seize control back from the Corbynistas.

Big beasts such as Alastair Campbell and Jess Phillips are spearheading a Blairite membership drive to overwhelm the hard-left activists whose stranglehold on the party is blamed for the spectacular election defeat.

Even though Jeremy Corbyn‘s radical policies crashed and burned at the ballot box, his loyal grassroots base is gearing up to replace him with an equally leftist ally. 

The Labour leader’s resignation in the wake of the party’s worst defeat since 1935 has left moderates scrambling to prevent a similar figure such as Rebecca Long Bailey or Angela Rayner taking the reins.

Mr Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications chief who was turfed out of the party after voting Lib Dem, said the members who deserted Labour during Mr Corbyn’s leadership desperately needed to return. 

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former communications chief who was turfed out of the party after voting Lib Dem, said the members who deserted Labour during Mr Corbyn's leadership desperately needed to return (pictured before the election at an event called Stop the Brexit landslide)

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications chief who was turfed out of the party after voting Lib Dem, said the members who deserted Labour during Mr Corbyn’s leadership desperately needed to return (pictured before the election at an event called Stop the Brexit landslide)

Even though Jeremy Corbyn's radical policies crashed and burned at the election, his loyal grassroots base is gearing up to replace him with an equally leftist ally (leader pictured outside his Islington home in the wake of the crushing defeat)

Even though Jeremy Corbyn’s radical policies crashed and burned at the election, his loyal grassroots base is gearing up to replace him with an equally leftist ally (leader pictured outside his Islington home in the wake of the crushing defeat)

Likely leadership challenger Ms Phillips tweeted: 'I don’t know what is going to happen but I know we need people in this fight

Likely leadership challenger Ms Phillips tweeted: ‘I don’t know what is going to happen but I know we need people in this fight

He said them rejoining ‘might be helpful both in the analysis and the aftermath’. 

And likely leadership challenger Ms Phillips tweeted: ‘I don’t know what is going to happen but I know we need people in this fight.

‘If you are upset with the result or if you are upset with the party you need to join. Labour members have actual power. You can change this.’

Party moderates have drawn up a strategy to rid Mr Corbyn’s left-wing ideology from the leadership which involves flooding the grassroots with scores of politically-aligned members.

A Labour MP told the Sunday Times: ‘They think the magic number is 100,000 to elect a moderate leader and are launching a massive online drive to attract the required support.’

It sets up a bitter showdown for the identity of the party between the centrists and Momentum, the hardline group which elected Mr Corbyn in 2015.

Many party members have rounded on the current Labour leadership for the disastrous campaign which saw the Red Wall of traditionally safe constituencies in the North reduced to rubble as Boris Johnson stormed to an 80-seat majority. 

Blairites point to the three majorities won by New Labour as the best blueprint for success, in contrast to the radically left-wing policies advocated by Mr Corbyn.

Angela Rayner

Rebecca Long Bailey

The Labour leader’s resignation in the wake of the party’s worst defeat since 1935 has left moderates scrambling to prevent a similar figure such as Rebecca Long Bailey (right) or Angela Rayner (left) taking the reins.

Ex-MP Anna Turley, whose Bishop Aukland seat turned blue for the first time in over 80 years, pinned the disastrous campaign squarely on the leadership. 

She said: ‘The biggest factor was obviously the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. 

Labour’s runners and riders 

Keir Starmer: 5/2

Rebecca Long Bailey: 4/1

Angela Rayner: 6/1

Jess Phillips: 6/1

Lisa Nandy: 8/1

Richard Burgon: 100/1 

Source: Ladbrokes 

‘The fact of the matter is that Jeremy Corbyn failed as a communicator, whatever his good personal qualities, and he undoubtedly has good personal qualities, he failed as a communicator.’

But Corbynistas will fight tooth and nail to keep their grip on the party which has dramatically shifted away from the centre ground in recent years.

One of Mr Corbyn’s main lieutenants, shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, blamed he election on Brexit and biased media coverage and said the party should not pivot back to the right.

Labour’s membership is more powerful than in other parties, with greater input in policy-making and leadership elections.

After Mr Corbyn nearly missed out being on the ballot in 2015 – and only received the threshold of MP nominations at the eleventh-hour – the rules were changed to give trade unions and activists a larger role in the selection.

Touted as Momentum’s preferred candidates are shadow education secretary Ms Rayner and shadow business secretary Ms Long Bailey.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell will take over as interim leader until election, likely to be before the party conference in October.

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