As the impact of the EU referendum result continues to be felt on the UK political landscape, three Co-operative Party MPs have resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.
The resignations were triggered by the sacking of Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary on Sunday 26 June. “In a phone call to Jeremy I told him I had lost confidence in his ability to lead the party and he dismissed me,” Mr Benn told the BBC.
As of 1pm on Monday 27 June, 18 shadow cabinet ministers have resigned, not including Hilary Benn’s dismissal. Nine junior shadow ministers have also resigned.
Seema Malhotra is the Labour and Co-operative Party MP for Fulham and Heston. Ms Malhotra was elected in the by-election in December 2011 and is also the co-founder and director of the Fabian Women’s Network. She was appointed shadow chief secretary to the Treasury in September 2015.
In her resignation letter, Ms Malhotra cited the work done in achieving a u-turn on cuts to tax credits for working people as being a particular area of pride. “However the Labour Party is bigger than any of us individually,” she wrote. “It is also now hugely divided and those divisions are growing.
“I have come to the view that under your leadership we will not be able to build bridges across the party, be the strong official opposition that the country needs or reach out to voters and build confidence in Labour.”
Lucy Powell, Labour and Co-operative MP for Manchester Central also resigned from the cabinet. Ms Powell was first elected at the Manchester Central by-election in 2012 and was appointed secretary of state for education in September 2015.
We have, over the years, lost the support of our traditional communities […] I do not believe you understand their concerns sufficiently to re-engage with these communities
In her resignation letter she praised Mr Corbyn as a “decent, principled and kind colleague” but echoed the views of Ms Malhotra in calling his position as Labour leader “untenable”.
“Given the big challenges faced by our country and our Party over the coming months, and the possibility of an imminent general election, I do not have the confidence that you can bring the Party together, lead us to a general election and be an effective opposition,” wrote Ms Powell.
“We have, over the years, lost the support of our traditional communities. While I don’t blame you personally for that, I do not believe you understand their concerns sufficiently to re-engage with these communities.”
On Monday morning, Anna Turley became the third Labour and Co-operative MP to resign. As MP for Redcar, Ms Turley has campaigned for better local government through building the national Co-operative Councils Network, calling for more power to be devolved from London to local regions.
In her letter, Ms Turley praises Mr Corbyn as “one of the kindest and most principled public servants in politics” before condemning the “lacklustre referendum campaign” and a leadership which “is not in touch with the hopes, fears and the aspirations of my local constituents”.
In a cabinet reshuffle on Monday morning, Mr Corbyn announced that Rachael Maskell (Labour and Co-op MP for York Central) would move from shadow defence minister to shadow environment food and rural affairs secretary.
Kate Osamor, Labour and Co-op MP for Edmonton, will now serve as shadow international development secretary.
In this article
- Anna Turley
- Co-operative Party
- eu referendum
- European Union
- General Election
- Hilary Benn
- Jeremy Corbyn
- Kate Osamor
- Lucy Powell
- Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet
- Rachael Maskell
- Seema Malhotra
- shadow defence minister
- shadow foreign secretary
- shadow international development secretary
- United Kingdom
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