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The five must-read posts from today, on Sri Lanka, Barack Obama and friendly conservatives.

1. Questions Fox must answer over close links to Sri Lankan "dictator"

Left Foot Forward reveals that Liam Fox met Sri Lanka's president three times last year and says the Tory defence spokesman must explain why he accepted hospitality from a man with such a poor human rights record.

2. A history of Obama feigning interest in mundane things

Does what it says on the tin -- New York magazine has compiled a slideshow of pictures of Obama feigning interest.

3. Tory proposals are designed to fatally wound Labour by 2015

At LabourList, Paul Richards argues that three seemingly innocuous Tory proposals are in fact carefully calibrated to undermine Labour's effectiveness in parliament.

4. Ends and means

The Economist's Bagehot asks whether people on the right of politics are nicer than people on the left.

5. The Gnu is back!

John Rentoul explores the possibility of a government of national unity.

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Benn vs McDonnell: how Brexit has exposed the fight over Labour's party machine

In the wake of Brexit, should Labour MPs listen more closely to voters, or their own party members?

Two Labour MPs on primetime TV. Two prominent politicians ruling themselves out of a Labour leadership contest. But that was as far as the similarity went.

Hilary Benn was speaking hours after he resigned - or was sacked - from the Shadow Cabinet. He described Jeremy Corbyn as a "good and decent man" but not a leader.

Framing his overnight removal as a matter of conscience, Benn told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "I no longer have confidence in him [Corbyn] and I think the right thing to do would be for him to take that decision."

In Benn's view, diehard leftie pin ups do not go down well in the real world, or on the ballot papers of middle England. 

But while Benn may be drawing on a New Labour truism, this in turn rests on the assumption that voters matter more than the party members when it comes to winning elections.

That assumption was contested moments later by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Dismissive of the personal appeal of Shadow Cabinet ministers - "we can replace them" - McDonnell's message was that Labour under Corbyn had rejuvenated its electoral machine.

Pointing to success in by-elections and the London mayoral election, McDonnell warned would-be rebels: "Who is sovereign in our party? The people who are soverign are the party members. 

"I'm saying respect the party members. And in that way we can hold together and win the next election."

Indeed, nearly a year on from Corbyn's surprise election to the Labour leadership, it is worth remembering he captured nearly 60% of the 400,000 votes cast. Momentum, the grassroots organisation formed in the wake of his success, now has more than 50 branches around the country.

Come the next election, it will be these grassroots members who will knock on doors, hand out leaflets and perhaps even threaten to deselect MPs.

The question for wavering Labour MPs will be whether what they trust more - their own connection with voters, or this potentially unbiddable party machine.