Bridgwater Labour Leaders have united in expressing disappointment at the public departure today of 7 anti-Corbyn MPs and have issued a call for unity and to concentrate on the fight against the conservatives. The 7 MPs have cited Labour’s position on Brexit, the Corbyn Leadership and anti-semitism as their reasons but have been criticised as a ‘Blairite tribute act’ and with a ‘poor record of voting for socialist causes in parliament’ by the left media. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnel has called on them to stand down and face by-elections and UNITE secretary Len McCluskey reminded them that their increased majorities at the last election were due to the socialist manifesto of the labour party and ‘not their personal charisma’. Here in Bridgwater the Party has been quick to unite and rally its forces.
Leader of Labour controlled Bridgwater town Council Cllr Brian Smedley (Bridgwater, Westover) said “It’s disappointing that people elected on a labour ticket, by labour voters and with labour helpers and aided by campaign funds raised by labour supporters and members should take this step to undermine the party when the real enemy is the Tories. However, history is against them. When the Gang of 4 set up the SDP in the early 80’s because the party was ‘getting too socialist’ they claimed to be a ‘new cross-party alternative’. Just one tory joined them and then they themselves joined with the Lib Dems. A coalition disaster in the waiting. The only thing they achieved was to keep the Tories in throughout the 1980’s. The British public and quite frankly the labour voters and members who put them there in the first place deserve better than this. The fight is against the Tories and we won’t be diverted from that. If Tories now join them, well, it shows they weren’t that anti-tory in the first place…””
Bridgwater Town Council Deputy Leader Cllr Kathy Pearce (Bridgwater, Westover) said “I’m very disappointed by this turn of events. This is just the time when we need to stand united to provide an effective opposition to the Tories’ shambolic handling of Brexit. “
Mayor of Bridgwater and Labour councillor Diogo Rodrigues (Dunwear North) said “I have been a Labour member for almost a decade. A proud member of a party that champions equality, fairness and one that shows compassion. It is sad that some MPs have chosen to leave the party. But the truth is that these are the same MPs that have been highly critical of our Leader and the direction of our party for some time. So perhaps it won’t come as a large surprise that they have taken this route. I don’t believe that a breakaway is a good thing, in fact it may cause us some damage.
But this Labour Party is not the same Labour Party it was in 1997, and some may feel too uncomfortable with that. Jeremy Corbyn himself was uncomfortable with the Labour Party for many years, but he stayed within because he understood that the Labour Party was, and still is, a broad church. The real enemy here are the Tories.
A party dragging the UK into a black hole, creating economic uncertainty, forcing people into poverty, crippling our NHS, leaving communities behind. And not to forget, a government with over 10 cabinet resignations since Theresa May took over. “
Bridgwater Branch Chair Glen Burrows said “This is no surprise! However, they were elected, with increased majorities, under a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn, with a socialist manifesto that inspired millions. If they no longer subscribe to those values, then they should resign their seats. Otherwise, they are clearly acting hypocritically.”
Bridgwater and West Somerset CLP Chairman Gary Tucker said “This only keeps the Tories in power for longer. Disunity lets down those suffering terribly with mental health issues caused by austerity and certainly does nothing to help the party eradicate the scourge of anti-Semitism wherever it might exist.
We all know that Mrs Thatcher had 10 years of unrestricted power to destroy communities and this was not helped by the split which led to the formation of the Lib Dem party. This move just emboldens the Tories and just when we had them on the ropes over Brexit.”
Remain in the Party
Sedgemoor Labour Group Leader, Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater, Victoria) said “While I am disappointed that seven Labour MPs have decided to leave the Party, I do hope that this will not lead to further defections from the Labour Party. The labour movement has and must retain unity in its political purpose. I have always believed that it is important for people to remain in the party, even at times when their Political differences are being tested.
Internal votes of no confidence and anti-semitism along with BREXIT have certainly tested the strength of the Party and further division will only weaken the cause to bring about a fairer society to that of one based on income inequality. The Labour party has increased its resolve to remove party members who hold anti-semitic views and now MPs must stay united to defeat the Tory Government which has used austerity and BREXIT, not to balance the books, but to create division and inequality.”
County Labour group leader Cllr Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South) said “This whole situation is frustrating. I’m a local councillor representing my community. I agree with Jeremy when he said ‘we should be fighting the tories, not ourselves”
Country Needs a Labour Government
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn issued a statement “Our country is in crisis and needs a Labour Government. Our opponents are the Tories, not each other, and it’s disappointing that a small group of MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.
Labour won people over on a programme for the many not the few – redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, investing in every region and nation, and tackling climate change. The Conservative Government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a credible alternative, keeping all options on the table, including a public vote to stop a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit.
When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all. For those millions the only solution is a Labour Government that will invest in and transform our country. That’s why we must be united – not for ourselves but to deliver a Labour Government.”