Prime Minister Theresa May might not have the integrity to say she’ll resign if her Brexit deal is voted down by Parliament – and her attitude to those in her party who do is tragically revealing.
Universities and Science Minister Sam Gyimah found this out when he became the seventh member of Mrs May’s government to resign in protest at the deal.
He said he supported a second referendum, as “the public will not forgive us if we don’t level with them about the difficult choices”.
Mrs May never even bothered to comment about this latest loss. Instead, according to Robert Peston, a spokesman who had been asked if Downing Street had anything to say responded: “Nah.
“The PM thanks him for his service.”
Universities and science minister Sam Gyimah has become the seventh member of the Government to resign over Theresa May's Brexit deal
— Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) November 30, 2018
Sam Gyimah on @bbcr4today: There is a blocking minority in the Commons for every type of Brexit .. the most sensible path for both Leavers and Remainers could be a second referendum. 'The public will not forgive us if we don't level with them about the difficult choices'
— Mishal Husain (@MishalHusain) December 1, 2018
I asked Downing Street if it had anything to say about @SamGyimah resignation. “Nah. The PM thanks him for his service”. This is now an automated message
— Robert Peston (@Peston) November 30, 2018
Contrast this with Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the loss of Kate Osamor, who resigned as Shadow International Development Secretary after her son was convicted on drugs charges.
It was the right decision. When the right-wing media get hold of a story that is potentially damaging to the Labour Party, they tend to go big.
In this case, Ms Osamor’s son Ishmael had been convicted of possessing £2,500 worth of drugs when he was at Bestival in 2017, with intent to supply. Apparently he was looking after the drugs for friends and the “supply” part of his conviction referred to his intention to hand them back.
The Times published a story claiming that Ms Osamor had lied that she did not know anything about the conviction when she employed her son in her Parliamentary office – as she had apparently written to the court, pleading for clemency. It also reported that she had thrown a bucket of water over the newspaper reporter who doorstepped her about the matter.
So, all things considered, it seems wise for her to take herself out of public view. Here’s her statement:
“I am resigning my position as Shadow International Development Secretary to concentrate on supporting my family through the difficult time we have been experiencing.
“I remain fully committed to our programme for creating a society that works for the many, not the privileged few, and will continue to campaign for this from the backbenches.”
Fair enough? Aaron Bastani seems to think so:
Sad to hear @KateOsamor resigning. Nothing but respect for people who defend loved ones in difficult circumstances.
Every journalist who inaccurately calls her son a 'dealer' has no clue how sentencing works. Public is tired of being lectured to by hypocrites.
She'll be back.
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) December 1, 2018
And so does Jeremy Corbyn. In a personal statement, he said he had accepted her resignation and would like to thank her for her work.
The same message – but hugely different attitudes.
Mrs May couldn’t be bothered to say anything at all; the statement was, as Mr Peston stated, “an automated message”.
Mr Corbyn responded personally.
Of course, the context is important. Ms Osamor quit to support her family – and to prevent criticism of the Labour Party; Mr Gyimah was leaving because he opposed Mrs May.
Perhaps it is understandable that she would take a less-than-kind view of him.
But whose fault is that?
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