Party members in mixed reaction to Labour leadership turmoil

The resignation of numerous shadow cabinet members in the wake of the Brexit vote has provoked a mixed response from Labour councillors.

Monday, 27th June 2016, 2:45 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:23 am
Jeremy Corbyn

Party members between Arun and Adur have reacted to turmoil at the top of the party, which has put leader Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to stand down.

A raft of resignations have flooded in since Friday’s referendum result, with critics arguing Mr Corbyn did not do enough to stake the case for ‘remain’.

While some locally have described leader Jeremy Corbyn’s position as ‘untenable’, Arun district and Littlehampton town councillor Mike Northeast has appealed for ‘calm’ at a time of turmoil.

He said: “I don’t think it (Corbyn’s resignation) would solve anything at this stage. There is enough turmoil at the moment within central government that we don’t want to be seen pulling ourselves apart.

“There needs to be a time of calm and discussion and being able to at least be a credible government to continue with the running of the country and trying to make something out of this mess that the country is in.”

Les Alden, group leader for Adur Labour, said Mr Corbyn was ‘not a leader’.

Mr Alden, who supported Leigh MP Andy Burnham in last year’s leadership contest, said he was disappointed Chuka Umunna did not stand.

He added: “I thought he (Corbyn) has been very sincere in his beliefs and I respect him for that but in this referendum campaign he has not proven himself to be a leader.

“The Labour Party owes it to the people who are suffering under the Tories to get elected and start to change it.”

Mr Corbyn party restructured his cabinet on Monday morning but a number of spaces are yet to be filled.

Lancing parish councillor Lee Cowen argued deputy leader Tom Watson had a mandate to step into Mr Corbyn’s role until a new election was called.

He said: “His position is completely untenable now. Cobbling together a shadow cabinet full of junior ministers is not going to convince anyone.

“He should step down now because I really don’t want another factional leadership election.”

Mr Corbyn won the leadership battle in September with a thumping majority of 59.5 per cent of first-preference votes.

A statement from Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Constituency Labour Party said it was listening to the views of its members.

A spokesman said: “At this moment in time we have nothing at all to say on the matter except that it would be better if at least equal focus was centred on the impact of the referendum result on the United Kingdom and the difficulties which lie ahead as the Tory Government, having already effectively disposed of its own leader, wrestles with its own dilemmas as a result of inability of David Cameron, the one-nation Tory cheerleader, not being able to stand up to the Eurosceptics within his own party.”