Notts Labour MPs abandon Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in Brexit row

lilian-greenwood-vernon-coaker

Three Nottinghamshire Labour MPs have resigned from the shadow cabinet in a rebellion against Jeremy Corbyn’s party leadership.

It comes after Mr Corbyn was accused of a “lacklustre” performance in the campaign to try to convince the British public to vote to remain in the European Union.

Mr Corbyn sacked shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn on Saturday night, leading to a string of walk-outs by senior party figures on Sunday.

Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood resigned her shadow transport secretary role and the Gedling MP Vernon Coaker stood down as shadow secretary for Northern Ireland.

Gloria De Piero, the MP for Ashfield, is also widely reported to have stood down from her role as shadow minister for young people and voter registration, but is yet to speak publicly. Notts TV News has contacted her for comment.

The vote split the nation

In her resignation letter Ms Greenwood wrote: “The [referendum] vote split the nation, including my own city of Nottingham, in two, and I share the concern that our strong collective position in favour of remaining in Europe was not consistently communicated to Labour supporters.”

While all three have let go of their special positions within the party – leaving Notts without a shadow cabinet member – they will continue as MPs.

Gedling MP Vernon Coaker confirmed via text to Notts TV News he had resigned from his position as shadow secretary for Northern Ireland.

Mr Coaker has not yet published his resignation letter, but told the Huffington Post: “The decision to leave Europe leaves the whole of the UK facing massive uncertainty and Labour now needs a strong and clear direction to serve as an effective opposition as we move forward, particularly if we face a general election in the next 12 months.”

In total thirteen Labour MPs have now stepped down from shadow cabinet roles after Mr Benn’s sacking.

They include, Heidi Alexander, the shadow health secretary, and Lucy Powell, shadow education secretary.

The Conservative MP for Broxtowe Anna Soubry reacts to the Labour resignations 

Mr Corbyn has denied claims he did not do enough to back the Remain campaign and a spokesman has been quoted as saying he will not be standing down as Labour leader.

He responded by announcing a new shadow cabinet early on Monday morning.

The Labour Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie has offered his backing to the rebels, saying: “I support Lilian and Vernon in their decision which is borne of a desire to ensure we build a Labour leadership capable of reaching out to the whole of the country and addressing the wider concerns and challenges facing the Britain following the referendum result.”

Nottingham North MP Graham Allen tweeted his reaction

But Nottingham North MP Graham Allen, also Labour, expressed doubt over the coup, questioning the timing of the resignations on Twitter.

The turmoil comes after Thursday’s national referendum on Britain’s membership of the union resulted in a narrow victory for the leave campaign.

The result has already led to Prime Minister David Cameron announcing he will step down in October.

 

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