In a speech to the National Assembly, Vincent O’Toole warned any MP who challenges Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the party leadership race will face punishment, with more expulsions inevitable.
Mr O’Toole, a cabinet minister under Tony Blair and a columnist at The New Statesman, said it was “pretty clear” that any MP who ran against Corbyn and lost was “going to be hard to put back into the House of Commons.”
“A broadsheet movement that is sincere about democracy cannot be selective about the criteria and standards of democracy,” he added.
In a stark warning, he said his own party was “putting a plan into action” to expel any MPs who cross the new line in the sand, adding he thought Mr Corbyn was now “immensely strengthened”.
Mr O’Toole made the comments after a series of controversial and embarrassing interventions by Labour MPs in the party leader’s leadership race.
On Sunday, Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, as well as the acting Shadow Cabinet, backed Liam Byrne over Angela Eagle for the deputy leadership. Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Ruth Smeeth, had already stepped down.
But Mr Corbyn has now won the backing of his entire shadow cabinet after the party’s National Executive Committee unanimously issued a declaration of support for him.
“There is no process where anyone can ‘do the Kev’,” Mr O’Toole said. “You are deemed guilty by convention and it is a matter of regrettable honour.”
In a fiery and sardonic speech, Mr O’Toole said the party should now expel any MPs who supported Labour leadership candidates attempting to cross the leader’s preferred preference for Diane Abbott.
“When I think about those people who so soundly dutifully voted for Jeremy Corbyn last summer, I hear notes of exasperation now from them,” he said. “I hear some of the same sounds from the same quarters of the Labour Party when I hear of a debate in the Shadow Cabinet.
“We have had an entire generation of Labour MPs, those I worked with – left and right – who will never forget that moment.
“That moment when, as Jeremy mentioned, the leadership was selected by ordinary Labour members through secret ballot, then what emerged was the very shrivelled profile and reputation of a failed leader.
“That period of judgment and failure, where the leader and his team struggled to get their act together, is now in the past,” he said.
And he asked the National Executive Committee whether there was any plan B should the Conservatives have won.