Hartlepool MP Iain Wright urges Labour to pull together amid in-fighting over leader Jeremy Corbyn
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright has urged Labour to pull together '“ with the crisis-hit party's existence in 'grave and real' danger.
In the wake of Britain voting to leave the European Union in Thursday’s referendum, a string of Labour frontbenchers quit their roles in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Corbyn also dismissed shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who after being sacked said the Labour leader had lost the confidence of many MPs, who questioned his role in the EU debate.
However, amid the growing split in the party – with many other Labour MPs voicing their support for Corbyn – Wright insists the in-fighting must stop.
He said: “It saddens that so many friends and colleagues have decided that they cannot serve on the Labour front bench under the current leader.
“There has been a lot of talent and promise lost from the shadow team in the past few days.
“In the aftermath of the most significant political event in Britain since the Second World War, the job of the Labour Party is to provide an effective opposition and, in the absence of any proper leadership from the Tories, a credible, alternative government that would benefit working class communities like Hartlepool.
“In these unprecedented and uncertain times, the public don’t want to see split and divided parties fighting amongst themselves.
“However, the current threat to the very future existence of the Labour Party is grave and real – it’s as big as that.
“The urgent task of the Labour Party in the next few days is to hold together and determine what needs to be done to provide unity within the party and hope and credibility within the country.”
Corbyn insisted yesterday that he would contest any leadership challenge, while today, he met with deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who told him he has “no authority” among the party’s MPs and warned him he faces a leadership challenge.
Corbyn became Labour leader last September, winning a landslide victory from party members and others allowed to vote.
And Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, is one of those who has insisted he remains fully behind Corbyn.
He has hit out at those who have resigned for their “misjudged, mistimed and indulgent” actions.
He said: “David Cameron and his Conservative Party sought a Referendum on the EU in order to address political divisions in his own party.
As we have seen since Thursday, those divisions have now widened, and have resulted in a constitutional crisis, and a growing economic crisis for the nation due to uncertainty over the terms of Brexit.
“Whilst the Tory Party is entrenched in their own internal conflict, and as people are waking up to the fact that they have been betrayed with lies particularly in relation to additional NHS funding, it has given Labour a real opportunity to focus on our priorities and to set the agenda.
“For this reason it is essential that the Labour Party is united, with everyone standing shoulder to shoulder and speaking up for the very people who so desperately need us, especially in the North East.
“The country is looking to the Labour Party to set out a way forward but we need to be united to do this.
“This should be our sole focus in the coming days, and weeks instead of creating divisions, let us come together to find a way forward.
“I am disappointed that those members of the PLP who have in truth never supported Jeremy have used the referendum as an excuse to move against him in an effort to destabilise the party at this vital juncture.
“I believe the attack on Jeremy Corbyn is misjudged, mistimed and indulgent.
“After the referendum result, it is vital that our Labour MPs return to their constituencies to begin to heal the dangerous fault lines that have split poorer working class communities and not be hidden away in the corridors of Westminster plotting against an elected leader with an overwhelming mandate.”