When Labour MPs lash out: three extraordinary outbursts in one week

Written by Sebastian Whale on 22 July 2016 in Diary
Diary

Conor McGinn, Thangam Debbonaire and Lilian Greenwood all lifted the lid on their encounters with the Labour leader this week.

A Labour frontbencher has accused Jeremy Corbyn of trying to use his father to "bully" him.

But Conor McGinn's sensational claims are just the latest twist in the most extraordinary week in the Labour party since the week before...

 

1. THANGAM DEBBONAIRE

On Monday, Thangam Debbonaire spoke out of how she was hired to a frontbench job when she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and then removed from her post – all without being informed by Corbyn.

“Mr Corbyn appointed me and press released this without my knowledge or consent whilst I was in the middle of cancer treatment,” the former shadow arts minister wrote on Facebook.

“He then sacked me the next day when he realized he had given away part of someone else's role. But didn't bother to tell me that either.

“I decided to make the best of it and to serve. I worked on his Arts policy whilst I was still having treatment but in Bristol.

“When I went back to Westminster, I discovered that he had sacked me but hadn't told me and did not have any ideas for how I was supposed to explain it to Bristol West members or constituents.”

The impasse was then resolved after an intervention by former shadow culture secretary Maria Eagle, with Debbonaire continuing to serve on the front bench until late June, when she tendered her resignation.

A spokesperson for Corbyn denied that Debbonaire had ever been sacked, blaming “miscommunication” for the mix-up.

 

2. LILIAN GREENWOOD

Also on Monday, former shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood revealed she resigned her post because she was fed up with Corbyn's "incompetent" leadership.

Greenwood shared a speech she made to her Nottingham South constituency Labour party, saying she was repeatedly "undermined" by her boss throughout her nine months in her role.

In a lengthy statement, the former frontbencher lamented the timing of Corbyn’s January re-shuffle, which coincided with a planned campaign against rail fare hikes.

Greenwood said she was also "undermined" when Corbyn told his local newspaper that Labour could drop its existing support for HS2 without telling her.

And in a further blow, the Labour MP claimed that Corbyn had "deliberately sabotaged" the party's agreed line on EU rules which could block Labour's plan to renationalise the railways.

 

3. CONOR McGINN

But Thursday night produced the most extraordinary claim against the Labour leader so far.

Conor McGinn, a party whip, sensationally accused the Islington North MP of trying to use his father to “bully” him.

He said Corbyn had threatened to contact his father - a former Sinn Fein councillor - following an interview the St Helens North MP gave to The House magazine two months ago.

In the piece, McGinn accused left-wing politicians of "sneering" at the public and warned Corbyn that Labour is losing touch with working class voters.

In a statement published on PoliticsHome, the Labour MP said: "Jeremy does not know my father so I can only presume that because of the much-publicised fact that my father was a Sinn Féin councillor, Jeremy felt that they would share a political affinity and was proposing to use that to ask my father to apply pressure on me.

“Thankfully, others dissuaded Jeremy from taking this course of action. The call was not made, and it would not have been well received."

A spokesman for the Labour leader insists McGinn’s accusations are “untrue”.

 

All images by PA Wire/Press Association Images

 

 

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