UK Labour Party shadow education minister Lucy Powell has resigned amid concerns that leader Jeremy Corbyn is unable to lead the party.
Pressure is starting to increase for Corbyn to resign, as critics within the Labour party blame him for not doing enough to fight for the country to remain within the EU. The argument has already caused shadow foreign character Hilary Benn to be fired and shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander to quit as well. Several other shadow cabinet members have since followed suit, including shadow foreign minister Diana Johnson, shadow minister for civil society Anna Turley and shadow armed forces minister Toby Perkins.
In her letter to Mr Corbyn, Ms Turley cited the ‘lacklustre referendum campaign’ as among the reasons that ‘it has become clear to me beyond doubt that you and your team are not providing the strong, forward looking and competent leadership we need to provide an alternative government to these increasingly right-wing Conservatives’.
In recent talks with deputy leader Tom Watson, Corbyn was reportedly informed that he has lost any authority he had within the Parliamentary Labour Party. While he did not ask Corbyn to resign, he did discuss the amount of stress that the recent wave of resignations has caused for the party.
Powell and Corbyn reportedly were not close allies, though they formed a working relationship throughout the last year.
Emily Thornberry is set to take over the role of shadow foreign secretary, while Diane Abbott will take over the health portfolio and Pat Glass will become responsible for education. Meanwhile, Andy McDonald will take over transportation, Clive Lewis defense, and Rebecca Long-Bailey will be shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.
Resigning as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Angela Eagle, the shadow first secretary of state and shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, Stephen Kinnock noted the referendum result was “deeply disappointing” in his letter of resignation. He went on to say that Corbyn lacked the skills and experience necessary to handle the coming discussions concerning the Brexit negotiations that he feels will be the main topic in British politics for years to come. He added that he did not believe Corbyn could “ensure that there is a strong Labour voice at the negotiating table as we undertake this monumentally complex task.”
Despite the massive amount of resignations that are continually occurring within the party, which includes former shadow leader of the Commons Chris Bryant, who said Corbyn was in danger of going down in history as “the man who broke the Labour Party,” Corbyn said he would not be stepping down.
Corbyn noted that he was elected into his position by “hundreds of thousands” of members within the Labour Party, and while he regrets the number of resignations that have occurred so far, he said stepping down would be a betrayal of trust of those who had voted for him, as well as the millions of supporters he had across the country, writes Sarah Marsh for The Guardian.
His supporters include 27-year-old Alice Marples from Northumberland, who originally signed up for the Labour Party because she said she agreed with the values Corbyn stood for. Still siding with Corbyn, she fears that those who stand against him are not helpful to the future of the party.
“Corbyn wants to unite the party. Lots of people are critical of him, but I don’t know why,” she says. “Why don’t the higher echelons of the Labour party listen to what the members are telling them? If people got behind Corbyn, Labour could really do something.”
Others agree with her sentiments, saying he is inspiring to young people and able to get them interested in joining the party, adding that they feel he truly cares about the disabled and working class. Adding that if he pushed out by the Labour party, many plan to cancel their memberships.