‘ORCHESTRATED treachery’ and a ‘pathetic and futile coup’. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and Labour MP Paul Flynn didn’t mince their words after shadow ministers resigned in protest againt Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the EU referendum and sacking of Hilary Benn on Saturday June 25.
In a taut 24-hour spell Gloria de Piero, Heidi Alexander, Seema Malhotra, Ian Murray, Lillian Greenwood, and Lucy Powell all resigned their posts.
“I have always enjoyed a warm personal relationship with you and I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve in your shadow cabinet. I accepted that invitation because I thought it was right to support you in your attempt to achieve the Labour victory the country so badly needs,” wrote de Piero, long considered one of the party’s rising stars.
“I do not believe you can deliver that victory at a general election, which may take place in a matter of months. I have been contacted by many of my members this weekend and It is clear that a good number of them share that view and have lost faith in your leadership.”
“The Labour party needs unity, and I have concluded that this can only be achieved under new leadership. The EU referendum has exacerbated fault lines within the party and our supporters, and those divisions are still widening.” said Greenwood.
Corbyn, who was elected to the Labour leadership last year with one of the biggest popular mandates in history, sacked shadow foreign secretary Hillary Benn on Saturday evening after media reports suggesting that he was preparing to launch a coup.
The opposition leader’s allies have come out in support of him today with Diane Abbot, John McDonnell and Len McCluskey all denouncing the rebels as unrepresentative of the wider party membership.
The news comes as Conservatives struggle to find a candidate to oppose Boris Johnson, while the forgotten Lib Dem’s claimed that 4,000 new members had signed up over the weekend.