Labour’s general secretary has rejected a call by deputy leader Tom Watson to suspend a constituency party for “bullying” its MP.
Mr Watson wrote to Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby calling for her to suspend Luciana Berger’s constituency Labour party (CLP) after she faced potential no confidence motions.
The motions against Ms Berger, who has been a prominent critic of Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of anti-Semitism and his position on Brexit, were withdrawn, but Mr Watson pressed for action against the activists in her Liverpool Wavertree seat.
Ms Formby said she was pleased the motions had been withdrawn and Labour should stand in solidarity with Ms Berger as “she continues to experience appalling abuse”.
Mr Watson said the CLP’s behaviour was “intolerable” and added Ms Berger was clearly being bullied.
But Ms Formby said there was “no constitutional basis” to take action against the CLP.
Ms Formby said: “I’m pleased that the motions to Wavertree CLP regarding Luciana Berger were withdrawn.
“At a time when she continues to experience appalling abuse it is right to stand in solidarity with her.
“For all those asking, there was no constitutional basis on which to suspend the CLP.”
Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said in a HuffPost UK blog: “I have no problem, as a Labour MP, with being held to account by the members who do the work to elect me. That is party democracy.
“But there has to be tolerance and respect. No-one, including MPs, should be bullied, least of all women members of parliament, some of whom, like Diane Abbott and Luciana Berger, have been subject to horrible abuse.”
But he added: “It is unacceptable for either MPs or whole constituency parties to be subject to trial by social media, as happens too often in the current climate.”