THE prospect of rebel Labour MPs being dumped by grassroots activists may have edged a step closer after a newly elected Scottish member of the party’s ruling body said she favoured “a conversation” about mandatory reselection.

Rhea Wolfson, one of six Momentum-backed candidates elected onto the National Executive Committee on Monday, said the move would be an “important democratic tool” at members’ disposal.

She spoke out as the Labour supporting Unite union backed a motion calling for the rule to be introduced and the party’s leadership race intensified.

“I think it is a conversation we’re going to have to have, particularly after Unite’s policy conference where they passed it,” she told Radio 4’s World at One.

“So I think that raises a question. Obviously there is an important disconnect right now between members of the parliamentary party, the members and now we’ve seen the unions.”

She added: “Whether that’s framed around mandatory reselection or whether it’s just about building bridges within constituency parties I’m not sure, but ultimately I think we have to have a much more healthy conversation around reselection, if not mandatory reselection.

“Ultimately reselection is an important democratic tool that our members have, and whether they choose to use it or not we have to make sure that that is a constructive conversation.

“It’s not about demonising particular people who have worked very hard for the party, but it is an important tool that members should feel that they can use if they feel the need to.”

Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson yesterday entered a war of words over claims by the latter that “Trotsky entryists” were manipulating young party members.

Publicly, the pair’s relationship has remained relatively peaceful despite Watson telling his boss he should stand down after 172 MPs backed a no-confidence motion in the leader.

But Corbyn’s campaign team reacted furiously after Watson accused “Trotsky entryists” of returning to the party and manipulating younger members to boost the leader’s chances of staying in the post.

Watson told The Guardian newspaper: “Some of these people are deeply interested in political change, in building a more equal society, and are just on a journey in politics that they’re new to.

“But there are some old hands twisting young arms in this process.

“They are caucusing and factionalising and putting pressure where they can, and that’s how Trotsky entryists operate. Sooner or later, that always ends up in disaster.”

A Jeremy for Labour spokesman accused Watson of orchestrating the party’s appeal against a High Court ruling that new Labour members should be allowed to vote in the leadership election – an apparent boost to Corbyn.

The spokesman said: “We regret that Tom Watson also forced through the decision yesterday at Labour’s NEC meeting to challenge the court judgment to restore the right to vote in the leadership election.

“Rather than patronising members and peddling baseless conspiracy theories about ‘Trotsky entryists’, he should be working with Jeremy to unite our party so that we can get back to campaigning to dislodge this Tory government.”

Meanwhile, former leader Ed Miliband backed Owen Smith to oust Corbyn at the top of the party.

“I want a Labour leader who will reach out to every part of Britain and can do what Labour has done in the past, which is out of this crisis make it a progressive moment.

“That’s why my choice for Labour leader is Owen Smith,” he said.

Earlier this summer Wolfson hit the headlines when claims emerged that former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy had tried to block her from being a NEC candidate.

He is said to have appealed to his local branch in Eastwood not to put forward Wolfson for election to the NEC.

Supporters of Corbyn swept the board in elections to the NEC on Monday, gaining all six places in the section voted for by constituency parties.

Ann Black, Christine Shawcroft, Claudia Webbe, Darren Williams, Rhea Wolfson and Peter Willsman will take up their places on the NEC in October.