Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) Told To Unite Around New Leader With Shadow Cabinet Election Ballot

Betts stressed that no one faction within the party had put him upto the plan, stressing he made it completely of his own volition and that it was not designed to ‘hobble’ Corbyn.

Another party source at the meeting said that there was “a sense that people on all sides are thinking carefully as to whether this is a change that should be considered to bring unity once the new leader is elected”.

Six Shadow Cabinet ministers attended the PLP, including Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, and Corbyn’s political secretary Katy Clark was also present.

However, some MPs believe that the NEC is unlikely to approve the plan, ensuring it won’t even get to full party conference, if Corbyn signals his opposition.

Some sources close to the leader have told HuffPostUK that there is unease at the idea as a backdoor way of defying the leader. One Corbyn ally said that party members could also be given a say in who was in the Shadow Cabinet.

“We are not opposed to it in principle. But if it is being used as a threat, held over our heads, then that would be different,” they said. “We would ask should this just be one group of people in SW1A [Westminster] selecting the Shadow Cabinet – or should it be opened to the whole membership?”

“It’s also pretty late in the day, given we are so close to conference and there may be logistical problems too”.

One MP told HuffPost that if the leadership decided to amend the Shadow Cabinet elections to include party members, that would scupper the entire idea as it would then become bogged down in an NEC wrangle.

“It would be deeply disappointing if they tried to torpedo it like that,” a party source added.  “This is supposed to be the first stage of a ‘truth and reconciliation’ process.”

The biggest applause of the meeting came when former Commons leader Chris Bryant paid tribute to party staff for their work in ‘a difficult year’.

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