Are You Keeping Up?

A little like yesterday I have things to do during the day, but it feels impossible to leave the news and my twitter feed for more than hour before another political story breaks.


Last night I finished a quick update on the runners and riders I thought would be on the Tory leadership ballot paper today. I hovered for a moment last night about writing about Gove as their seemed some coverage about him considering his position but decided against it in the end. Instead I used the opportunity to encourage Morgan and Hunt not to humiliate themselves with ‘bids’ or throwing their hat in the ring. I got that bit right but I certainly didn’t see how the morning was going to unfold and just how quickly the Boris Johnson master plan would come tumbling down after Gove announced he was standing because he couldn’t trust him. This led to a mixed emotion. I have dreaded Boris becoming our PM and turning politics into a farce and our country into a laughing stock. But the idea that the future of our country may be in the hands of Gove fills with me with even greater dread. It means I am now hoping that Theresa May defeats him. You wouldn’t have heard me say that in any other sentence in the last 18 years. I can but hope that like many Tory leadership elections there are surprises along the way and we don’t end up with either of them.!

I filled my twitter timeline with some reactions to Boris v Gove and lots of retweets – far more than I could cover here. But there are some great clips of Gove dismissing and promising to sign in blood that he didn’t want to be PM and confirming he wouldn’t be very good at the job. Can we have that Gove back please?

Labour Woes won’t go Away 

We were expecting a 3pm news conference from Angela Eagle today where it was widely expected that she would launch her leadership bid. She has the numbers. But for some reason it hasn’t happened yet.

But Labour today has continued to tear itself apart with Corbyn digging in for a fight and putting out an email (where he even misspells his own name) calling for Unity and leadership. I can’t disagree with those aspirations. But Clearly Corbyn cannot offer either and must resign for the sake of the party. A political party is bigger then one person – and it certainly bigger than an MP who rebelled against the party over 400 times in my years in Parliament and never showed any respect for an elected leader.

We saw another resignation from my old friend Rob Marris MP. And if anybody accuses Rob of being a Blairite I will scream. Just look at his record. Rob speaks out for what he believes.

I wrote a quick update this morning about where I think this internal fight will end up. I am now convinced it will in the medium term a realignment of politics in the centre. There is now a fundamental difference and battle lines drawn between the Labour Party, the new Momentum led Labour Party, the MPs, MEPs and Councillors who have served the Party for decades and more importantly with its voters. The splits we saw across the country over Brexit are equally obvious within Labour and its support. The next short period will decide the sort of country we are. It is not going to be pleasant. But I hope once we get beyond this summer we can get on with healing the wounds and working on a long-term plan to allow these differences of opinion to be heard. I have already had to mute and unfriend a few abusers on my social media. I intend my comments to remain civil, persuasive and posted after some thought. I imagine I will lose some people along the way but I intend to do what I think is right for the Labour Party I joined in 1983 as student and have served on the doorsteps and yes in the Council Chamber and finally for a period in the House of Commons. I fought and won a marginal Midlands seat 3 times and know how hard it is t build a coalition of support to in seats like Loughborough. Even under Miliband we are now 9,000 votes behind. I imagine under Corbyn we would be even further behind. For the sake of the people I came into politics to serve I want to create an electable Labour Party that can improve their lives – not create a social movement that just campaigns and makes the campaigners feel better about their ideology.

I am sorry if that is not the position you take. But it does not now give you the right to call me a traitor, Blairite etc. It means I have taken a considered alternative decision based on 30 years of doorstep work in a marginal seat. I will remain above the abuse but don’t be offended if you abuse on social media that blocking and muting and unfriending will be happening.

Let’s start the battle for the future of the Labour Party – but do it in a comradely way.


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