Top Corbynite Quits Labour's Ruling Body As Party Now 'Hostile Territory For Socialists'

Laura Pidcock, an MP until she lost her seat in 2019, attacks Keir Starmer's leadership for "a lack of vision".
Laura Pidcock, Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer in 2019.
Laura Pidcock, Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer in 2019.
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

A former Labour MP has blasted the party’s “lack of vision” under Keir Starmer as the Jeremy Corbyn supporter quit its governing body.

Laura Pidcock, who lost her North West Durham seat in 2019, claimed the party has become “hostile territory for socialists” as she criticised former colleagues for “cheering” as a Tory MP last week defected to the Labour Party.

Her resignation from the National Executive Committee (NEC) comes a day after a motion at a meeting of the ruling body to reinstate Corbyn as a party MP was defeated.

The decision by Pidcock, seen as a successor to Corbyn as the torch-bearer for the Labour left, prompted many supporters to tweet “solidarity”. But the move reflects Starmer’s tightening grip on party machinery, and is unlikely to alarm the leadership.

On Tuesday, as reported by HuffPost UK, a bid by left-wing Labour officials to readmit Corbyn as an MP was rejected by the NEC.

Starmer removed the party whip from Corbyn — meaning he cannot sit and vote with the party he once led, and is currently an independent MP — following his reaction to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into anti-Semitism in the party.

The failed motion was considered at the “emotional” meeting, with one Corbyn supporter invoking the words of Martin Luther King when making their case.

In a 800-word resignation letter published on Wednesday, Pidcock said she ran to be a member of the NEC as a “bridge from Corbynism” against the backdrop of Starmer’s “hypothetical” leadership.

She added: “What has ensued is a barrage of top-down changes which is making it hostile territory for socialists, from those of us on the NEC, to those in CLPs (constituency Labour Party) across the country.”

Pidcock went on: “What I have witnessed on the NEC has been immensely frustrating.

“This leadership is devoid of ideas, lacking vision. I can’t and won’t negotiate with these people anymore.

“The summit of their ideas are just small tweaks to the status quo. They challenge virtually nothing, but are noticeably determined when it comes to rule changes that alienate the left.

“They have demoralised thousands of people who were awakened to politics for the first in their life. I am sure, this is part of their larger strategy.”

Pidcock also condemned the former Tory MP Christian Wakeford joining Labour last week in frustration at Boris Johnson’s leadership.

She said: “To be really honest, the cheering of a Tory MP crossing the floor in the House of Commons, an MP who has voted against everything we believe in, crystallised the deep unease.

“What I immediately felt was pain for all of those who are forced to use food banks, all of those who are going through the punitive ‘social security’ system, for all of the amazing activists protesting against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, including Gypsy and Traveller people, who are also at the heart of resisting the racism in this legislation — some of the many reasons why this whooping by elected representatives of my own party, on that day, was so inappropriate and jarring for so many.”


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