Sunday 17 March 2019


When we announced on Facebook that only two Labour MPs had consistently respected the Leave vote throughout last week's round of treacherous amendments, someone piped up that we were wrong because there was a Stoke-on-Trent MP that had done the same.  They had obviously watched the news and heard that Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North) had resigned from Corbyn's front bench in order to defy party whips and vote against a second referendum.

However, this was the only vote Smeeth had cast in favour of Brexit all week.  She voted to reject no deal - indefinitely - and also voted to extend Article 50.  Smeeth is no Brexiteer, but if our Facebook follower is anything to go by, she managed to fool some into thinking she had done an honourable thing.  What she did was a cynical act of self-preservation.

Stoke-on-Trent returned some of the highest Leave votes in the entire country, but none more so than Smeeth's constituency.  Only six places in the UK produced a higher Leave vote than Stoke-on-Trent North, a fact not lost on its Remain MP.  Another key factor in her deception is her faltering majority, cut in half between 2015 and 2017, despite the national swing to Labour.  In fact Labour's majority in this seat has been slashed significantly in every single general election since 1997.  Back then it was a safe Labour seat with a huge 17,392 majority.  The Conservatives were a distant second, but at the last election they were just 2,359 votes behind.

Clearly Ruth Smeeth is a pro-Brexit Tory candidate away from defeat at the next election.  All of a sudden her headline grabbing resignation makes perfect sense.  It was nothing to do with 'honouring the vote'.

All five of those who resigned from Corbyn's front bench in order to oppose a second referendum also voted to extend Article 50 and block no deal.  It doesn't take a genius to work out why these Remain MPs appeared to have a sudden 'attack of conscience' when voting on the loser's amendment...

Yvonne Fovargue - Makerfield - 65% Leave
Emma Lewell-Buck - South Shields - 62% Leave
Justin Madders - Ellesmere Port & Neston - 58% Leave
Stephanie Peacock - Barnsley East - 71% Leave
Ruth Smeeth - Stoke-on-Trent North - 72% Leave