Many Brent Central constituents have recently contacted me concerning the potential leadership challenge within the Labour Party. I am responding to make clear to you my position as the Labour MP for Brent Central.
I must start by putting on the record it is unfortunate that the Labour Party has conducted itself in this way. I have been so truly shocked by the events that have taken place these past weeks and I truly regret that we are in the situation we now find ourselves.
Following the EU referendum result, I believe the country is critically divided and in need of political leadership.
Many constituents have been in touch to ask how I voted in the ‘no confidence’ motion held recently by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). The exact question we were asked is ‘Do you have confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party?’ to which I voted ‘Yes’.
I voted yes for two reasons.
Firstly, Jeremy Corbyn became Leader of the Labour Party at a time when the Acting Leader, Harriet Harman, was trying to force MP’s to vote for some of the most draconian legislation that this country has ever seen. The attack on the working classes was palpable and we were supposed to support these measures. I just could not understand the logic. However since Jeremy Corbyn has become Leader I have had no such disagreements with the stance he has taken against the Tories and their legislation. We have fought them at every turn having inflicted heavy defeats and gained concessions on the Trade Union Bill, Housing & Planning Bill, Investigatory Powers Bill. The Government have backed down on devolving Sunday Trading, forced academisation as well as on child refugees in the Immigration Bill.
Having inflicted all of these defeats on the Government, we cannot afford now to allow the Conservative Party and the new Prime Minister free reign in Parliament at such a crucial time. There are people up and down the country struggling under the Conservatives who need a Labour Party holding this Government to account.
Secondly, Jeremy Corbyn was democratically elected as the Leader of the Labour Party with the largest mandate of any Leader in the history of the Labour Party. However it is important to note that although Jeremy’s policies are suitable for the Leader of the Labour Party a Prime Minister does require additional qualities. Any Leader needs to bring its MP’s and the party as a whole along with them and I believe we need to be a strong and effective opposition.
There are people in communities up and down this country who are struggling under this Conservative Government’s savage cuts to public services and welfare spending who need a united Labour Party able to hold the new Conservative Prime Minister to account. So too as we seek to renegotiate our place in Europe following the leave vote in the referendum we have an obligation to the British people to secure the best deal possible.
In my view Theresa May will likely win the Conservative leadership race and will be a robust and powerful leader of her party. The Labour Party cannot be weak and we need all of our Labour MPs working together.
I want to assure you that I am actively speaking to colleagues within Parliament and the trade unions to try and reach an amicable solution which keeps the Labour Party together. Whilst I do not know how these events will unfold in the coming days and weeks I do know that I will continue to argue for calm and party unity.