Jonathan Reynolds has been told to ‘respect the mandate’ of Jeremy Corbyn, just hours after he announced his decision to resign from the Labour Shadow Cabinet.
Lindsey German – convener of Stop the War Coalition – slammed the MP after he stepped down from his role as Shadow Rail Minister on Wednesday morning, citing concerns over the removal of fellow MP Pat McFadden from the frontbench during the prolonged cabinet reshuffle.
On a turbulent day for the Labour Party, 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.
The Stalybridge and Hyde MP also highlighted his opposition to Stop The War – which Mr Corbyn formerly chaired – describing it as ‘fundamentally wrong in their assessment of the threats the UK faces’.
However, Ms German told MM that she felt it was the right choice for Mr Reynolds to resign if he didn’t agree with Mr Corbyn, although she dismissed his decision as not making much sense.
“There are plenty of other people who can do that job,” she said.
“I didn’t know before today what Jonathan Reynolds looked like, they’re not exactly household names and I think there are plenty of other people who can do his job.
“Jeremy’s position as leader is secure, he got a huge mandate – whichever of the other [Labour Leadership] candidates Jonathan Reynolds voted for, between them they didn’t come anywhere near Corbyn.
“I think the MPs including Jonathan Reynolds need to respect that and need to understand that Jeremy is in tune with a lot of people in this country, was in tune with the majority of his shadow cabinet – even before the reshuffle – and with the majority of Labour MPs, who voted against the bombing of Syria.
“It’s a choice for him, in some ways I think it’s the right choice to make if he doesn’t agree with Jeremy, but if he’s using the example of Stop the War as a threat to national security I think that’s a completely bogus reason for resigning.
“It doesn’t strike me as particularly principled, but that’s entirely his decision, but it’s a decision that doesn’t make much sense on that basis that he gave.”
The storm around Mr Corbyn’s cabinet reshuffle shows no sign of abating, with all three resigned MPs being dismissed as part of a ‘narrow, right-wing clique’ by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Despite that criticism, Mr Reynolds has found support with his Manchester colleagues, with Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne saying that his ‘skills and knowledge’ would be missed from the frontbenches.
“Jonathan Reynolds is not just a colleague, he’s a good personal friend too,” he told MM.
“I respect his decision to resign from Labour’s frontbench where his skills and knowledge will be missed.
“I know he will continue be a strong advocate for fairness and social justice in parliament and will serve the people of Stalybridge and Hyde vigorously from the backbenches.”
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