Labour MP quits poverty review in row with Labour leadership

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Wirral South MP Alison McGovern. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suffered a fresh resignation after the chair of a proposed party poverty review quit because she cannot work with the leadership.

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern hit out after criticism by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell of the Blairite Progress group which she chairs within the party.

Ms McGovern said she was due to meet Mr McDonnell about the poverty review earlier last week, but he was late because he was making media appearances. She told BBC’s Sunday Politics: “So I’m there waiting to meet him to talk about it and all the while he’d gone to the TV studio to call the organisation that I am chair of ‘hard-right Conservative’, of having a hard-right Conservative agenda. That’s not OK.”

“We are all Labour members and we believe in having a Labour government – that’s what we are, nothing more nothing less.

“And, as I say, I don’t want to be on the telly talking about this but I have been backed into a corner and I have got no other choice now but to stand up and say ‘this is who we are’ and we should just get on with the business of getting a Labour government.”

Mr Corbyn is facing further internal problems with two members of his shadow cabinet hinting they will quit if the party changes its policy to scrapping Trident. Owen Smith, the shadow work and pensions secretary, and Lord Falconer, the shadow justice secretary, have both faced questions on whether they would walk away from the front bench over the issue.

It is likely to be a major point of contention after Corbyn shifted pro-Trident Maria Eagle from shadow defence secretary and replaced her with Emily Thornberry, who supports his call for Britain to disarm unilaterally.

Mr Smith was asked if a shift to a position of unilateral disarmament would prompt his resignation.

He said: “Well that would be difficult for me but I think the key thing that I would do is stick in, in the run-up to that decision, and make the case.

“We have got to have, I think, a very adult argument in the Labour Party about this – not in public I hope, not in the way in which we have occasionally argued publicly recently - but it is an enormously serious, technical, strategic question for Britain as to what the nature of our nuclear weapons are and whether we have a nuclear deterrent. My view is that unfortunately we do need one.”

Meanwhile, Lord Falconer was similarly noncommittal when asked if could quit over Trident in a weekend interview.

He said: “Let’s see what happens in relation to that but I am clear that I support Trident remaining.”