Lisa Nandy resigns from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet
BREAKING: Labour Shadow Energy Secretary Lisa Nandy has today (27 June) led a string of shadow ministers to resign from the Party's cabinet in the wake of Britain's decision to leave the European Union (EU).
The MP for Wigan is among a dozen cabinet members to have stepped down after Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn was sacked on Saturday night following his criticism of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s supposedly peripheral role in the build-up to the referendum.
Nandy, along with several fellow Shadow Ministers, has expressed a lack of confidence in Corbyn’s leadership of the party, demanding that the opposition leader steps down and is replaced temporarily by deputy leader Tom Watson.
In a joint statement, Nandy said: “Together with our colleagues from the centre left of the party – John Healey, Nia Griffith, and Kate Green – we just met with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss the future of our party. We had hoped to leave that meeting with the confidence to continue to support the leadership in bringing the Labour Party together from within the Shadow Cabinet. During the course of the meeting, it became clear that this would not be possible.”
‘Lack of confidence’
Nandy, who is reportedly being considered as a potential frontrunner for leadership, was elected as Shadow Energy Secretary in September 2015 following Corbyn’s surprise ascension as party leader.
During her brief spell in the role, she warned that businesses were being ‘ripped off’ by the Conservative Party's plans to support the Hinkley nuclear plant while cutting subsidies for the cheapest renewable technology, onshore wind. She also pledged to 'democratise' the energy system by boosting community-owned renewables across the country.
The statement continued: “The lack of confidence in the leadership goes beyond the small group of MPs who have consistently opposed Jeremy since his election. It has become clear that he is unable to form a broad, inclusive Shadow Cabinet that draws on the best of our movement’s left and right traditions.
“For that reason we have told Jeremy that whilst the party holds a leadership contest – which is now inevitable – we believe Tom Watson ought to take over as a caretaker leader to stabilise the party and to enable us to play a full part as the official opposition in one of the most difficult periods this country has ever faced.”
Labour leader Corbyn lost 12 members of his shadow cabinet on Sunday and further resignations, including Nandy, have taken place on Monday ahead of a crunch meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).
Meanwhile, Kerry McCarthy, Bristol East MP, has resigned from her role as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and will be replaced by York Central MP Rachael Maskell. McCarthy's predecessor Luciana Berger, standing to be Labour's candidate for the first Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City region, has resigned from her role as Shadow Mental Health Minister.
In a letter released by McCarthy, she said: "There is important work to do: on flood risk, air pollution; how we ensure a sustainable and economically viable food and farming system; and much more.
"Many of the critical issues handled by the Department are intrinsically linked with our membership of the European Union. CAP payments, the Nature Directives, implementing the EU circular economy package. The referendum result was a huge disappointment, and we now face the challenge of negotiating our future relationship with the rest of Europe.
"Vital protections won through our EU membership must not be jettisoned. This requires strong leadership from the Labour Party, and an alternative vision for the Government, which is seen as credible by the wider electorate.”