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Liverpool Wavertree CLP defends itself

LABOUR members in Liverpool Wavertree lashed out at accusations of anti-semitism and “political bullying” today after a vote of no confidence in Blairite MP Luciana Berger was proposed and subsequently withdrawn. 

A statement released on Sunday morning by the executive of Wavertree Constituency Labour Party (CLP) sought to clarify the position of Ms Berger’s local party.

The CLP has come under heavy criticism for calling an extraordinary general meeting to discuss two votes of no confidence in Ms Berger.

The main motion, which was withdrawn on Friday afternoon following pressure from Jeremy Corbyn’s office, said: “Instead of fighting for a Labour government, our MP is continually using the media to criticise the man we all want to be prime minister.”

Following the withdrawal of the motion, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson called for the CLP to be suspended by general secretary Jennie Formby.

However, Ms Formby, while saying that she “welcomed” the decision to withdraw the motion, said that there was “no constitutional basis” to suspend the CLP.

As a result, the CLP’s executive have said that they ”strongly reject” the accusations of political bullying and anti-semitism.

They pointed out that they have no control over the motions submitted, and have claimed that they are being harassed for “simply adhering to party rules and doing our jobs.”

The letter said that ordinary constituents of Ms Berger stood with her against any racist or anti-semitic attacks on her, saying: “We as an executive have always and continue now to express total solidarity with Luciana as a victim of misogyny and of anti-semitism — coming mostly from the far right.”

It also pointed out that the CLP’s chairman Alex Scott-Samuel is Jewish, and said that the suggestion that he or other party members are anti-semites is a “false and slanderous accusation.”

Ms Berger, who has been a long-standing critic of Mr Corbyn’s leadership, is hugely unpopular among Labour supporters and activists for her perceived disloyalty to the party.

Last week, she was heavily criticised for refusing to rule out leaving Labour to join a breakaway centrist party on ITV’s political programme Peston.

She is expected to be deselected in advance of the next general election.

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