Labour has three MPs in Leicester, and outrageously only one says that they may give their support to Jeremy Corbyn’s continued leadership of the Labour Party, this individual being the ever-consummate fence-sitter Keith Vaz.
The Leicester Mercury stated (July 22) that Keith Vaz, who is a member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), “is reported to have said he will give Mr Corbyn his support if he asks for it.”
So what about our other two MPs?
Well, Liz Kendall is presently engaged in the anti-democratic campaign to depose Corbyn, while our final local MP, Jon Ashworth said: “As a member of both Labour’s National Executive Committee and the shadow cabinet I have chosen not to nominate anyone.”
The Mercury continued: “The Leicester South MP has said his position on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) means he feels he cannot back either candidate,” Jeremy Corbyn or Owen Smith in the contest to become Labour leader.
This pretence of neutrality is very concerning considering the fact that most of Ashworth’s colleagues on the NEC are vocally attacking Corbyn. But Ashworth’s made things worse when he went on to explain to the Mercury that:
“Our priority now must be to support someone who looks like a potential Prime Minister and can build broad support in the country with actual policies not just heavy rhetoric.”
One potential interpretation of this statement being, that as far as Ashworth is concerned, Corbyn does not look like a potential PM, and has no meaningful policies.
Surely these are strange words indeed from Ashworth, espcially given the massive support that Corbyn’s leadership has received from Ashworth’s own Constituency Labour Party – a constituency party after all, who, just last year, nominated Corbyn to be the leader of the Labour Party.
It is also interesting that Glenis Willmott — who serves on the NEC, is the MP for the East Midlands, and is the Labour Party’s leader in the European Parliament — is also playing a leading role in the ongoing coup against Corbyn, which she did by writing a letter on behalf of the majority of Labour MEPs which called upon their democratically elected leader to stand down (June 29).
To end on positive note, we can at least be thankful that eight of Leicester’s 52 city councillors have found the courage to publicly stand up for what they believe in by signing a letter that affirms their support for Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. The signatories of this letter were:
- Teresa Aldred – Thurncourt ward
- Deepak Bajaj – Evington ward
- Lucy Chaplin – Stoneygate ward
- Patrick Kitterick – Castle ward
- Deborah Sangster – Castle ward
- Lynn Senior – Castle ward
- Bill Shelton – Saffron ward
- Ross Willmott – Rushey Mead ward
As reported in the Leicester Mercury (July 13) the full text of the letter read:
We the undersigned as Labour Councillors in Leicester call on all those with positions of responsibility in the Labour Party to respect Jeremy Corbyn’s overwhelming democratic mandate secured less than a year ago and support his leadership of the Labour Party.
It its time for all of us in the Labour Party to focus on speaking up for jobs and workers’ rights, and to counter the scapegoating of migrants and challenge any attempt to use the referendum result to introduce an even more right-wing Tory government by the back door.
We call for unity and the Labour Party to offer a programme of hope for our people.
For further details about the nine Leicester councillors who have come out with Sir Peter Soulsby against Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party read my earlier article: “The Importance of Publicly Organising Against Smears.”