Ipswich Labour resists backing eitehr Jeremy Corbyn or Owen Smith in leadership battle

Jeremy Corbyn - photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn - photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Both Labour leadership candidates have been invited to meet party members in Ipswich – but the local party organisation is not backing either in the battle for the top job.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing a challenge from Owen Smith after he lost the support of the overwhelming majority of the party’s MPs in the House of Commons.

Constituency Labour Parties across the country have been giving their endorsement to one of the candidates – in Suffolk and north Essex several have endorsed Mr Corbyn.

However in Ipswich, one of few constituencies in the region with a realistic hope of returning a Labour MP in the next general election, the party is not planning to endorse either candidate.

Instead it has written to each inviting them to meet members and answer questions about why they would be best to lead the party into the next election.

The Ipswich Labour Party did not endorse an candidate in last year’s leadership election.

A leading party member said: “To be honest, the way the vote is structured with one member, one vote, it doesn’t make any difference for a local party to support one candidate or the other – individual members make up their own minds.

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“If we’d had a meeting to decide who to support, how many members would have turned out?

“It is much better to invite candidates here so we could have the chance to ask them what they have to offer us.”

Neither candidate has yet accepted the offer to speak to members of the Ipswich Labour Party and the result of the leadership election is due to be announced on September 24.