The wires are now carrying news that Clare Short is going to be the first Labour MP to get “fast-track” discipline by the Chief Whip following her comments on the Today Programme and in the Independent, as exclusively revealed by the daily.
Jacqui Smith said that Short’s “comments and actions are so serious, I am now taking the matter further by referring her conduct to the party chair and the general secretary of the Labour Party”.
Sources said that this would involve “the full bangs and whistles”. This may just be designed to keep the party looking strong by cracking down on dissent, but equally it could be an attempt to preempt the rumours that Short is planning to defect to another party.
UPDATE: Hull Uni Labour Club is reporting that West Midlands Regional Director Ian Reilly has formally requested to the Chief Whip, a fellow West Midlands MP, that Clare Short be expelled from the Party.
FURTHER UPDATE: The PA is reporting that the General Secretary has written to Clare Short and will take the matter to next Wednesday’s meeting of the NEC, which could decide to take disciplinary action.
FINAL UPDATE: Newsnight has just featured the story, with Short coming under fire from Campaign Group MP Ann Cryer (who recalled Short as the “Witchfinder General” where Militant were concerned and pointedly noted that Short had not resigned with Cook over the Iraq war, but said that she should not be expelled herself) and a more moderate Anne McKechin MP. The piece is 36 minutes in and will be available for 24 hours.