Sir Keir Starmer looks set for a battle with Labour’s left-wing over plans to reform the way the party’s leader is elected.
Under the proposal, the one member, one vote (OMOV) system would be replaced with a return to the electoral college made up of the unions and affiliate organisations, MPs and party members.
Sir Keir has briefed the shadow cabinet on his plans and will set them out to trade union leaders on Wednesday ahead of the Labour conference which starts on Saturday.
“Our rules as they are right now focus us inwards to spend too much time talking to and about ourselves, and they weaken the link with our unions,” Sir Keir said.
“These are two things that have got to change if we are serious about winning the next election.”
The Labour leader is understood to favour the three parts of the electoral college having an equal share of the vote.
The move to reduce the weight of members’ votes has sparked fury on the Labour left, with warnings of a new “civil war”.
Former leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Removing the current system of electing Labour’s leader – again reducing the members’ vote to one third while increasing the vote of MPs to one third – would be deeply undemocratic.
“It’s time to stop attacking Labour members’ democratic rights – and take the fight to the Tories.”
Richard Burgon, secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, said a return to the electoral college system would “treat members with contempt and must be rejected as anti-democratic”.
Frontbencher Rachael Maskell also criticised the plans, saying that as an MP she should have “no greater say” than other party members.
“The members are ultimately the party and they should equally elect their leader.
“OMOV is the most democratic system. Let’s respect our members, let’s respect party democracy.”
Eagle-eyed social media users have also spotted a reporting quirk among those who have picked the story up.
Both the BBC and The Mirror chose to point out the leadership rules are what “got Jeremy Corbyn elected”.
But, as Owen Jones pointed out, it is also how Starmer himself was elected.