“When Jeremy Corbyn called me last September and asked me to be his shadow health secretary, my world felt like it had turned upside down… when Jeremy phoned and asked me to serve, I said yes,” she writes.
Interesting. Is this the same woman who, according to a Daily Heil piece at the time of the events she just described, “told activists during the Labour leadership campaign in her inner London constituency that Mr Corbyn would cause ‘division within the party’, and make Labour unelectable”?
When the Heil went public with the email, she insisted that she now supported Mr Corbyn. But the damage is done. She was criticising Mr Corbyn’s leadership before he even started, so for her to say, “I hated being part of the shadow cabinet… it was entirely dysfunctional… I hated being part of something so inept, so unprofessional, so shoddy,” is pointless. She would say that about it – she has an ideological opposition to Mr Corbyn and his policies. Why did she ever bother accepting the job?
Perhaps we know some of the answer already. Look at where she describes her work: “I loved the job. Learning about a whole new area of policy; understanding how things in the NHS worked, and thinking about how they could work better; meeting principled, intelligent people – from the NHS, charities, local authorities and thinktanks – from whom I could learn so much; working with the fiercely bright, committed individuals who joined my already brilliant team; standing up in parliament and giving Jeremy Hunt a run for his money.”
All very nice. The trouble is, it seems she wasn’t following Labour policy and was instead acting against Mr Corbyn’s wishes.
It is a matter of public record that Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell had suspicions about Ms Alexander. He had received complaints that she was not doing enough to support junior doctors in their dispute with Mr Hunt over his disastrous “seven-day NHS” plan – or to protect the service generally.
So he sought a second opinion on her performance, setting up an advisory panel on NHS policy – against her wishes. The two sides have different stories about what happened – he says she was open to the idea at first but turned against it, while she claims not to have been informed by him, and to have stated it was “totally unacceptable”, after she found out.
Why would she have behaved like this if she didn’t have something to hide?
Sure, it’s not nice to have a senior member of any organisation scrutinising your work, but we’ve all had it at some time in our working lives and most of us are able to use such times to show the quality of our work.
Ms Alexander quit.
She didn’t do it straight away, but the advisory panel had not had its first meeting when she did – and it is telling that it has been disbanded since.
So when Ms Alexander suggests, “It wasn’t good enough for the leader to routinely defer to his shadow chancellor when confronted with a difficult decision – a shadow chancellor who on three separate occasions undermined my efforts to agree collective positions on health matters,” it is easy to infer that her words are based on ill-feeling, rather than on objective fact.
It is notable that she was the very first in line to resign after Hilary Benn’s sacking.
And it is impossible to take seriously any of her criticisms of Mr Corbyn or his administration. She said Mr Corbyn would cause division in the party – isn’t that exactly what she is trying to do? Once again – as so often with the plotters against Mr Corbyn, it seems the accuser is the abuser.
This is a woman who briefed against Mr Corbyn during the leadership campaign, who seems to have accepted a shadow cabinet position only in order to undermine the Labour leader, and who was delighted to join the so-called ‘Chicken Coup’ against him at the first opportunity – no matter what she might say to the contrary.
“I wasn’t part of a plot. I wasn’t part of a coup. I had tried hard to make it work,” she protests. This Writer doesn’t believe a word of it.
She adds: “When members and supporters receive their ballot papers on Monday they must answer the same question I asked myself during that difficult weekend after the referendum: “Who is best placed to lead our party and become the next prime minister?” And she now supports Owen Smith, who had not even put himself forward at the time she mentions.
I don’t think she asked herself that question. The only thing on her mind at that time would have been how she could help the plotters push Mr Corbyn out.
If Heidi Alexander’s article demonstrates anything, it is that she is a disgrace – a two-faced, undermining co-conspirator who’ll do whatever she must to further her own ambitions.
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