Sarah Champion unresigns… and is welcomed back by Jeremy Corbyn
As one Labour MP changes her mind about leaving the Labour leader high and dry, will others follow suit?
Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed back a Labour MP who resigned from the shadow cabinet less than a month ago.
Sarah Champion quit her role as shadow minister for preventing abuse on June 28. However today she sent a plaintive letter to her leader. It stated:
“I would like to formally retract my resignation and ask to be reinstated to my role as Shadow Home Office minister for preventing abuse and domestic violence with immediate effect.”
Shortly after the email’s existence was revealed by the Guido Fawkes website, lobby journalists received an official statement from the Labour press office:
“The Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Champion MP, who is re-joining the Labour’s front bench as Shadow Home Office Minister, focusing on women, equality and domestic violence.”
Enemies of Corbyn say that his embrace of Champion shows how desperate he is for friends in the parliamentary party.
Allies of Corbyn suggest that the move shows that the leader is a big-hearted guy who just wants the best for the party and does not hold petty grudges.
Corbyn allies are also hopeful that others will follow suit. But will they?
Champion is one of the 35 MPs who nominated Corbyn for the leadership contest last year, saying she did so in order to “broaden the debate”. If any MP is likely to be open to working for Corbyn at the present time, the open-minded, risk-taking and largely left-leaning 'gang of 35' is surely the place to look for them.
However, most of the 35 already occupy senior shadow cabinet positions. Others – such as Sadiq Khan and David Lammy – were never on the front bench to start with. And two – Jo Cox and Michael Meacher – have sadly passed away.
The only one of the 35 who did recently resign from the Labour front bench is Neil Coyle. The MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark stood down from his role as parliamentary private secretary to the shadow Leader of the House. And he closed the door firmly behind him on the way out.
Unlike Champion, he penned a withering resignation letter which criticised Corbyn for his “lack of energy and zeal” and warned the leader: “If you cannot be persuaded to step down you risk not just potentially destroying the Labour Party, but imposing further Tory Government in the UK.”
An now Coyle has accused his leader of presiding over the “Farage-ification” of Labour. A spokesman for Corbyn hit back: “It is disappointing that Neil Coyle has stooped to personal abuse."
Another left-leaning Labour MP who recently resigned has now made it clear that she will not be returning either.
Heywood and Middleton MP Liz McInnes is no typical anti-Corbyn agitator. Rather, she voted against the motion of no confidence in Corbyn’s leadership. But when Corbyn refused to go, she instead stood down from her post as shadow communities minister.
She says that she has now “completely lost faith in Jeremy” and is backing Owen Smith.
Picture by: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images