Seriously, there are questions to be asked about the second high-profile right-wing Labour resignation in a month.
Is Mr Hunt jumping before he is pushed, as his Stoke Central Constituency Labour Party membership is opposed to him?
Is he trying to embarrass Jeremy Corbyn by offering his constituency to UKIP in the by-election that must now be called?
Is he trying to split Labour’s resources, making it harder for the party to retain the Copeland seat that Jamie Reed quit last month?
Or is this simply an admission that right-wing ‘Red Tory’ Labour has accepted its time is up and the party is returning to what it should be?
Mr Hunt received only 39.3 per cent of the vote in Stoke Central at last year’s general election – and the constituency had the lowest turnout of any in the United Kingdom, meaning only 19 per cent of constituents voted for him:
— Maya Goodfellow (@MayaGoodfellow) January 13, 2017
He was Britain’s least popular MP, and was even hugely unpopular with his constituency party, having been ‘parachuted’ in for the 2010 election after failing to win nominations in Liverpool and London previously. The chair of the constituency party actually stood as an independent candidate in protest against his selection.
His constituency mostly voted for Brexit, but Mr Hunt has loudly claimed that Mr Corbyn was a closet Brexiteer, so that will most likely backfire in his face. All his CLP has to do is nominate a left-wing Eurosceptic and watch the votes roll in:
All of the above makes it hard to believe anybody can seriously think the resignation will make Labour vulnerable to UKIP – but some do:
See how much Tristram Hunt cares about the Labour party & his constituency? Rather risk giving it 2 Ukip while he flounces off 2 a cushy job
— Judy Hamilton #ShieldingFor6Months&Longer 😷 (@secretspartacus) January 13, 2017
Stoke by election caused by Tristram Hunt quitting another huge test for Labour leader – should not be, been Labour since creation in 1950
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) January 13, 2017
His resignation letter to CLP members states that he is not trying to cause an upset: “I am sorry to put you, the party and the people of Stoke-on-Trent through a by-election. I have no desire to rock the boat now and anyone who interprets my decision to leave in that way is just plain wrong.”
Do we believe him?
Mr Hunt’s more notable actions include crossing a picket line to deliver a speech (what a way for a member of the Party of the Workers to stand up for the workers).
Mr Hunt says he is leaving politics to take a directorship at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. As an MP, he called for the reintroduction of entrance fees for museums and art galleries, so his future direction seems clear:
If Mr Hunt was hoping for a strong response to his resignation, he’ll be disappointed. Sure, right-wing Labour colleagues were happy to provide endorsements, and Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a few kind-but-lukewarm words:
Thank you @TristramHuntMP for your service to the people of Stoke-on-Trent & to the Labour Party. Best of luck in your future role @V_and_A
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 13, 2017
But this is indicative of the public attitude:
Good luck Tristram Hunt! I believe Director of the V&A will be more suited to your talents than MP of a northern working class community.
— Susan (@marthasydenham) January 13, 2017
I always thought #TristramHunt was more suited to being in a museum than being a Labour MP.
— david white (@davidwhite020) January 13, 2017
And it can only be noted with sadness that the arrival of Pizza Express has been suggested as his greatest achievement:
Of all the things that Tristram Hunt achieved as an MP, this was probably the greatest. https://t.co/M1iHkJfTNb
— Patrick Kidd (@patrick_kidd) January 13, 2017
If Mr Hunt’s resignation is an attempt to make Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership seem weak by surrendering Stoke Central to another party, then this would simply demonstrate how corrosive right-wing Labour has become to the party as a whole. The best choice for the constituency will be a left-wing candidate from within the local Labour Party, who understands the people of the area and what they need.
Getting back to this article’s headline, though: Isn’t it time you went as well, Jeremy?
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