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Fifth of Labour MPs ‘on deselection hit-list drawn up party activists’

Activists in South Tyneside compiled a list of 49 sitting MPs who, it suggested, could “join the Liberals”.

One in five Labour MPs has reportedly appeared on a deselection “hit-list” drawn up by left wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

A Momentum activists group in South Tyneside has compiled a list of 49 sitting MPs who, it suggested, could “join the Liberals”, according to The Times.

They are said to include Chuka Umunna – who led a revolt on leaving the EU single market in the Queen’s Speech debate – Chris Leslie and Jess Philips.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Chuka Umunna (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The disclosure came as it emerged that another MP critical of Mr Corbyn was told she should “get on board quite quickly now” after supporters of the Labour leader took control of her local constituency party.

Luciana Berger, who is currently on maternity leave, was told by one newly-elected member of the executive of the Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party that she should apologise to Mr Corbyn for having supported a no confidence motion against him.

Other members of the executive later dissociated themselves from the remarks by Roy Bentham.

Momentum dismissed The Times report as “laughable”, saying the list did not reflect the group’s national policy.

“The list was published by a local Momentum Facebook page with 136 likes, and in no way represents Momentum’s national policy,” a spokesman said.

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Luciana Berger (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A YouGov poll for The Times put Labour eight points ahead of the Conservatives (46-38) in its first opinion poll since the General Election.

The hit-list report came, however, amid fears among some Labour MPs that Mr Corbyn’s left wing supporters, emboldened by unexpected success in the General Election, will seek to force out MPs who have criticised him.

Concerns were heightened when one senior ally of Mr Corbyn warned it was “unreasonable” for Labour MPs not to face the prospect of re-selection as he took aim at the party’s right.

Frontbencher Chris Williamson said MPs must have the support of the party’s membership, which has overwhelmingly supported Mr Corbyn in two leadership elections, and no members of the Commons should be guaranteed a “job for life”.

He added: “There are interest groups and individual MPs in this party who think it’s their god-given right to rule,” he said.

“No MP should be guaranteed a job for life and it’s crucial that we all get with the times. MPs elected in earlier phases of this party run the risk of failing to understand what is really going on out there in society.”

His comments come after party chairman Ian Lavery, another supporter of Mr Corbyn, said Labour was “too broad a church” as a party.

A source close to Mr Corbyn said he wanted a “wider democratisation of the party” but had not taken a position on possible rule changes which could make it easier to make MPs face re-selection contests.

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