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Momentum in a pickle over its ‘Huddersfield branch’

Momentum in a pickle over its 'Huddersfield branch'
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In recent months both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have defended the Momentum group from criticism. Created as a result of Corbyn's leadership campaign, the grassroots movement aims to organise activists in towns and cities in order to create a mass movement for the Labour leader. Despite this, the far-left group has repeatedly been accused of being linked to deselection threats against centre-left Labour MPs.

However, it seems that Momentum's biggest problem may actually be learning to control its supporters. As the Sunday papers report that Corbyn is to sack Benn from his shadow cabinet as part of a new year reshuffle, it now appears that the shadow Foreign Secretary has also won the attention of Momentum activists.

Hilary Benn tweeted his followers on Sunday to give them an update on the floods which are wreaking havoc on his constituents in Leeds. He said that he had spent the day trying to help those affected.

HuddersfieldMomentumAt which point, an account purporting to be the 'Huddersfield branch of Momentum' joined the conversation and warned him that he would soon have a lot more time on his hands to deal with the flooding crisis. 'Shadow cabinet reshuffle soon lad,' they replied. 'So soon you'll have more time to spend with your constituents.'

MomentumHud

Labour MPs including Rachel Reeves were quick to criticise the comments:

https://twitter.com/RachelReevesMP/status/681151473728798720

https://twitter.com/wesstreeting/status/681161270725312512

As did Momentum, who issued a statement to distance themselves from the account, saying that they do not endorse the tweet. Yet mystery still remains about the group's ties to the so-called 'Huddersfield branch'. While some have suggested it is not a part of Momentum and instead the work of a lone troll -- given that the Twitter account was created before Momentum was founded -- the Facebook account that the Twitter links to does have clear ties with Labour. Local Labour councillor David Sheard is listed as a friend of the account, which again bills itself as the 'Momentum Group for Huddersfield'.

DavidSheard

It seems the Momentum critics could have been on to something after all when they said that the group's local branches may not be all that they seem.