It’s common knowledge (isn’t it?) that she has said if she were in Jeremy Corbyn’s position and had lost the support of 80 per cent of her MSPs, she could not do her job – implying that he should resign. Fine words coming from a person whose own political nous secured the loss of half her party’s seats in the Scottish Parliament less than two months ago.
Some commentators took this to mean that Scottish MSPs were opposed to Corbyn en masse. It turns out they aren’t.
A statement signed by Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, Alex Rowley MSP, has made it crystal clear that he supports Mr Corbyn to the hilt – along with 12 other Labour MSPs – the majority of the party’s 23 remaining Scottish Parliament members.
So Scottish Labour MSPs have divided with the majority in favour of Mr Corbyn – a reversed mirror-image of the situation in Westminster. In this matter, at least, Ms Dugdale has lost the confidence of 56 per cent of her MSPs.
In an opinion piece on his own site, Mr Rowley explained his opinions in detail. His thinking is excellent as you can see for yourself:
Following the Brexit vote Labour had a duty to show leadership in a time of great upheaval. Our MPs should have put the blame squarely on those who called for this referendum and ran campaigns of mistruths and hate. The Tories have divided our country, jeopardised our economy and allowed far-right extremists to feel justified in attacking people on our streets.
Regardless of their opinion of Jeremy Corbyn, there was a responsibility on every Labour MP to be a collective strong UK opposition offering leadership and direction. We are witnessing the Tories at their weakest, in turmoil over a leadership election whilst the UK is leaderless, and now we sadly find ourselves in the same situation.
The Labour Party should have been speaking up for our country, putting Labour values first and working with nations, regions and cities to find a way forward. Instead we now look even weaker and more divided than the Tories.
Even if those within the Labour Party who think Corbyn’s leadership is weak were right (I personally don’t think they are), they had an obligation to the country to put their views aside to address the immediate crisis.
We must stand united in comradeship and ensure that we do everything within our power to protect the country at this time. Every option must be explored.
Scotland voted to remain in Europe and there is a determination in Scotland’s Parliament to get the best deal for Scotland. Over the coming days, weeks and months we must chart a way through to achieve this. It is clear that those who fought the case for Brexit have no plan, and the sorry sight of Westminster’s main parties imploding on themselves gives little cause for optimism.
I plea to all MPs, especially Labour, to face up to the immediate challenges our countries in the UK are facing, leave the internal party politics at the door and unite to find a way through the economic, social and constitutional crisis the UK now finds itself in.
“We must stand united in comradeship and ensure that we do everything within our power to protect the country at this time.”
The vast majority of the Labour Party – north and south of the border, in Northern Ireland and, I hope, in Wales – is united. The people putting the brakes on an effective strategy for the UK are 172 MPs who still have the nerve to say they represent the Labour Party.
They don’t. If they can’t rejoin the rest of us (and, given their actions over the past week, this seems likely), they should leave.
Alternatively, they will be pushed. Many constituency parties are already passing ‘no confidence’ motions in them and will take steps to remove them as soon as they are able.
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