Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins resigns as Shadow Armed Forces Minister

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has resigned as Shadow Armed Forces Minister as the row over Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party continues.

Monday, 27th June 2016, 10:59 am
Updated Monday, 27th June 2016, 12:03 pm
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

In a letter, Mr Perkins said he was leaving the role with “deep regret” but that to allow Mr Corbyn to lead the party into a General Election would be a “betrayal of my members, constituents and the wider country”.

A vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn was tabled on on Friday, after it was announced Britain was to leave the EU, and a number of the Shadow Cabinet have since resigned.

Mr Perkins’ letter states: “It has been a great honour to serve in your shadow defence team, and to see first-hand the work our armed forces personnel do, they truly are second to none.

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“It is with deep regret that I walk away from this role, but no-one who has spent the last six weeks in daily conversations with voters in the north of England, as I have in Chesterfield, could be under any illusions about how urgently the Labour Party needs a change at the top.

“I note that you continue to refer back to the mandate you received last September. I have to tell you that I have been contacted by many of the people so enthused by your victory last year, to urge me to persuade you to stand down.

“I am still uncertain whether you believe that you did all you could to secure votes during the recent EU referendum campaign and this ambiguity certainly fed through to voters. Either way, it does not augur well for any General Election campaign.

“The Labour Party is a more important institution than any of us, not just to its members but to the whole country. To allow it to risk the catastrophe it will surely face, if you lead us into the General Election campaign, would be a betrayal of my members, constituents and the wider country.

“As others have said, whilst most members hold you in great esteem, the majority who have contacted me also recognise that you are not destined to become Prime Minister and hope that you will stand down at the earliest opportunity to allow our party to approach the next General Election with confidence.”