Owen Smith MP (pictured) has resigned as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, citing Jeremy Corbyn’s inability “to hold together, in the true Labour Party tradition, a Shadow Cabinet that draws upon the talents of colleagues from across the Parliamentary Labour Party” as the reason for his decision.
In a letter to the under-pressure Labour leader, Mr Owen Smith writes: “It is with a heavy heart that I write to you to resign from the Shadow Cabinet.
“I believe that The Labour Party is the greatest force for good this country has ever known and it has been my honour to serve in the Shadow Cabinet.
“Following your victory in the leadership election last year I had no reservations in serving loyally in your Shadow Cabinet, excited by the prospect of the new kind of politics you promised.
“I am deeply proud of all we have achieved over the past year, including winning crucial victories for the people I entered politics to serve, such as forcing the government in to a U-turn over Tax Credits cuts and support for disabled people through PIP, fighting the Bedroom Tax, standing up for women set to lose out as a result of mishandled pension reforms and starting to change the destructive Tory narrative around social security.
“However, the communities we seek to represent need a Labour Party that is able to articulate their concerns and most importantly win power to deliver for them.
“As a result, it is deeply worrying to see that you have not been able to hold together, in the true Labour Party tradition, a Shadow Cabinet that draws upon the talents of colleagues from across the Parliamentary Labour Party.
“We are none of us bigger than the Labour Party and I regretfully make the decision to resign, in the best interests of our party, the people that most need a Labour government and the country as a whole.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”
In response to the apparent coup d’etat on his leadership of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I was elected by hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members and supporters with an overwhelming mandate for a different kind of politics.
“I regret there have been resignations today from my shadow cabinet. But I am not going to betray the trust of those who voted for me – or the millions of supporters across the country who need Labour to represent them.
“Those who want to change Labour’s leadership will have to stand in a democratic election, in which I will be a candidate.
“Over the next 24 hours I will reshape my shadow cabinet and announce a new leadership team to take forward Labour’s campaign for a fairer Britain – and to get the best deal with Europe for our people.”