Did Tristram Hunt see #HuntMustGo on Twitter and draw the wrong conclusion?
Tristram Hunt has resigned as an MP [Image: Skwawkbox].
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:
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:
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:
But this is indicative of the public attitude:
And it can only be noted with sadness that the arrival of Pizza Express has been suggested as his greatest achievement:
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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