Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds has resigned from the Labour shadow cabinet in response to its prolonged and controversial reshuffle by Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn had elected to fire Pat McFadden and Michael Dugher, previously Europe spokesman and Culture Secretary respectively, on Tuesday after disagreements between the Labour leader and his team over the response to ISIS and Trident.
Mr Corbyn had allowed his party a free vote on whether to extend airstrikes into Syria, with members of his shadow cabinet voting for the strikes against his wishes.
Similarly several figures also support the renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent Trident, including former Defence Secretary Maria Eagle, who has replaced Mr Dugher as Culture Secretary.
However, Mr Reynolds wrote to Mr Corbyn on Wednesday morning to announce his resignation, citing the fact that there was a need for “a greater degree of discipline” on the front benches – something he was not prepared to commit to.
Mr Reynolds posted the news on social media platforms, as well as a picture of the letter sent to Mr Corbyn, in which he states that the Stop The War Coalition – which Mr Corbyn formerly chaired – was “fundamentally wrong in their assessment of the threats the UK faces”.
Mr Reynolds wrote: “Although I was personally against the proposal to extend airstrikes into Syria, I cannot in good conscience endorse the world view of the Stop The War Coalition.
“The security and well-being of my constituents must always be my first consideration, and I therefore believe my colleague Pat McFadden was right to condemn those who would to any degree absolve ISIS for their actions following the atrocities in Paris.
“I have always seen your election as Labour Leader as a catalyst for the Labour Party to have a wide debate about its future and policy position.
“This is a debate I welcome and want to be a part of. I feel the best way to do this is to not be a member of the Labour frontbench team at this time, which would then allow me to have more freedom to engage in these arguments at this time.”
The ex-Shadow Rail Minister was followed off the frontbench by Stephen Doughty and Kevan Jones, Cardiff South and Penarth and North Durham MPs respectively.
Mr Doughty, the former Shadow Foreign Office minister, announced his resignation live on BBC Daily Politics, saying he would be ‘shocked’ if Mr Mcfadden had been sacked from his role for his views on the response to terrorism.
Mr Jones resigned from his position as Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces in the aftermath of PMQs over Mr Corbyn’s views on nuclear disarmament.
The resignations will come as a blow for Mr Corbyn, whose intentions to reshuffle his cabinet have come under increasing scrutiny, with rumours that influential figure Hilary Benn was to be removed proving unfounded.
However, the Leeds Central MP is understood to have been told to toe the Party line in future – the irony of which has not been lost after Mr Corbyn made a career of defying the Labour whip before his unexpected rise to leadership in 2015.
Image courtesy of BBC, via Youtube, with thanks