Labour MPs are frantically checking with their lawyers to see whether it is possible to ban Jeremy Corbyn from speaking or offering opinions or criticism during the leadership race.
After the NEC declared that he should obviously be allowed to stand, rival MPs are looking for new ways to derail his bid and the will of the party members.
One senior Labour source told Scoop Alley: “It’s disgraceful that Jeremy is saying things that reflect the core values of the Labour Party – how does he think that makes us look?
“So what if we use any bit of dirt on him we can find, and when there isn’t any we offer opinions but present them as facts. That doesn’t mean it’s fair for him to come back looking for actual clarification on where Owen Smith stands on the NHS, just because Mr Smith worked for a huge pharmaceutical company.
“Although we have been rounding on him and spitting poison from day one, we still reserve the right to faint in shock like a posh Victorian woman if he ever answers back.
“How dare Mr Corbyn say it is important for the NHS to be free at the point of use and for staffing and medical research to be publically funded? It made our Owen feel awkward.
“It’s supposed to be a democratic party. That means it’s the MPs’ opinions that count – it’s not about the opinion of the leader, and certainly not the hundreds of thousands of members – just the bit in the middle — that means us.”
The PLP are hoping to reach a compromise with the NEC that would allow Mr Corbyn to stand, but only if he promises to stay silent while his rivals offer their well thought out and intelligently delivered criticism of him such as ‘sit down and shut up’ and ‘the man is an idiot’.
The source added: “This would be our only hope of getting Mr Smith the victory we have decided he deserves, and even then we would probably need a few more last minute rule changes to oust Mr Corbyn.”