Friday 16 October 2020


Dan Carden and Margaret Greenwood

Keir Starmer suffered a torrid Thursday as he lost two shadow ministers and five junior frontbenchers in one night.  The resignations came as 34 of his MPs rebelled against the party whip, up from 17 ten days ago at an earlier stage of the same bill.  The bill in question was the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, designed to lend legal protection to police officers, intelligence agents and their sources in the course of operations.  Opponents fear it will allow individuals to commit serious criminal acts with impunity.

First to announce his resignation was Dan Carden, a hard left Liverpool MP who stood down from his role as Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury.  Some media outlets reported that he was the last Corbynista to leave Starmer's front bench.  Technically Andy McDonald is the last man standing.

Later on Thursday another Merseyside MP announced her resignation.  Margaret Greenwood was the Shadow Schools Minister.  Carden and Greenwood published their resignation letters on social media (see letters below, click to enlarge).

Also resigning from their front bench roles were five parliamentary private secretaries - Mary Foy (Durham City), Rachel Hopkins (Luton South), Kim Johnson (Liverpool Riverside), Navendu Mishra (Stockport) and Sarah Owen (Luton North).  With the exception of Owen all of them are members of the hard left Socialist Campaign Group, the bulk of which voted against the legislation - and the whip.  Two other PPS's opposed the bill - Charlotte Nichols and Sam Tarry - but they have not resigned.  Following previous resignations and dismissals there are now seven PPS roles vacant on the front bench, so it will be interesting to see if Starmer dismisses them as he did Nadia Whittome after she defied the whip last month.

The full list of 34 Labour MPs who opposed the bill were as follows (Socialist Campaign Group members in bold).

Diane Abbott
Tahir Ali
Paula Barker
Apsana Begum
Olivia Blake
Richard Burgon
Dawn Butler
Ian Byrne
Dan Carden
Jeremy Corbyn
Geraint Davies
Mary Foy
Barry Gardiner
Margaret Greenwood
Rachel Hopkins
Kim Johnson
Ian Lavery
Clive Lewis
Tony Lloyd
Rebecca Long-Bailey
John McDonnell
Ian Mearns
Navendu Mishra
Grahame Morris
Kate Osamor
Kate Osborne
Sarah Owen
Bell Ribeiro-Addy
Lloyd Russell-Moyle
Zarah Sultana
Jon Trickett
Claudia Webbe
Mick Whitley
Nadia Whittome
Beth Winter

Plaid Cymru, the SNP and Liberal Democrats also opposed the bill, which passed its third reading 313-98 and proceeds to the Lords.