Harriet Harman vows to fight on in Commons speaker race as local Labour branch threatens to oust her

Ewan Somerville
Harriet Harman: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Harriet Harman has vowed to press ahead with her campaign to be House of Commons speaker despite her local party threatening to derail it.

The former Labour deputy leader has been urged to withdraw from the race to succeed John Bercow by her local party branch as they voiced “disquiet” at her plans.

Camberwell and Peckham Constituency Labour Party (CLP) members threatened to pin a rival candidate against her in a snap general election, raising the prospect of Ms Harman being ousted as MP.

But Ms Harman stood defiant on Friday morning, tweeting the “overwhelming majority “ of local members support her and that her commitment to them was “unshakeable”, adding: “I will not back down!"

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The motion, narrowly passed by 26 votes to 22 and led by Corbynite trade union official Nick Wrack, said Labour needed “the largest and strongest presence possible” in Parliament to secure “radical socialist policies”.

It warns: "The absence of a Labour MP will deprive one of the most deprived constituencies in the UK of much-needed Labour representation in parliament.

"The meeting agrees that Camberwell and Peckham CLP does not support Harriet Harman in her endeavour to become speaker and calls on her to withdraw from the contest."

But sources told The Londoner that the prospect of Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) approving a candidate to run against Ms Harman, who has been an MP for the party for 37 years, was highly unlikely.

It came as Ms Harman also told The Londoner on Friday that she was "undaunted" by the CLP's plotting, adding: “I’m taking it in my stride. I’m one of that generation where we’re not going to be told that we’re not going to put ourselves forward."

Commons speakers are required to stay above party politics but must represent their constituents in the same way as any other MP.

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John Bercow announced he was resigning the coveted post at the end of October, and Labour’s Lindsay Hoyle, currently deputy speaker, is favourite to replace him.

Ms Harman’s supporters rushed to her defence following the local motion, with Labour MP Stella Creasy quoting pop star Taylor Swift as she tweeted: “Actually thought it was a parody - The brocialists want to come at the Labour legend that is @HarrietHarman and try to tell her not to stand for speaker without their permission?

"In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, they need to calm down ....and not step on her gown…”