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Monday, December 21, 2015

How Corbyn plans to force policy changes on Labour MPs

More disharmony broke out in the Labour Party over the weekend when Angela Eagle, the party's shadow first secretary of state effectively drew a line in the sand and dared her leader to cross it.

According to the Times,  Ms Eagle used an interview on The Andrew Marr Show to repeat her warning against setting policy by online voting methods. There have been suggestions that Mr Corbyn will try to bypass Labour's National Policy Forum process in favour of such exercises, which would allow left-wing supporters to frame policy-making.

Ms. Eagle said that internet consultation should be used to “involve not only our party members but wider members of the public in discussing the way forward for our country in policy terms”, but added: “We don’t make policy by plebiscite because there are very few policies that have clear, black and white, yes or no answers in a complex world.

“What we need to have is debate and decision-making after everybody has been listened to, democratically arrived at through the policy processes. I am determined to deliver a much better version of that than we’ve had in the past.”

Jeremy Corbyn was having none of this, however. He has said that he does not regret emailing Labour members over Syria and hoped that their response had had an “influence on what Labour members were thinking”.

He said that he could repeat the exercise on whether to scrap Trident, the party’s most divisive issue. “This is what social media unleashes and I think politics better get used to the idea it is here to stay.”

Whether he can successfully use social media to bring his MPs in line with his own thinking once a vote on Trident is scheduled will be worth watching. It will also be worth seeing whether the National Policy Forum survives Corbyn's excursion into on-line self-validation.
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