#TristramHunt resignation: divide (resources) and conquer?


So, Tristram Hunt has announced his resignation of his Stoke Central seat this morning. The MP, as firmly a part of the Establishment and the party’s right wing as you could find – his father’s a lord and he infamously told privileged students at Cambridge University that it was time for the ‘top 1%’ to lead a ‘campaign of dissent’ against leader Jeremy Corbyn, just 5 weeks after Corbyn’s first leadership victory. He was even lambasted by Tom Watson, hardly a left-wing firebrand, for crossing a picket line.

Hunt’s real nature is demonstrated by the MPs that have been quick to shout this morning about how much he’ll be missed, such as two of the worst that the Labour ‘red Tory’ faction has to offer:

Hmm. Right…

He’s also not especially popular with his local party – when his selection as an outside, ‘parachuted’ candidate was forced on Stoke Central CLP (constituency Labour party) in 2010, the unhappiness of members was so strong that the Chair of the CLP stood against him as an independent in protest. Before that, he’d ‘done the rounds’, trying to be selected for two other constituencies he had no personal connection with, in Liverpool and London. So it’s safe to say he has no strong emotional ties to Stoke – and that they won’t much miss him.

So, as a candidate to ‘take one for the team’ by resigning his seat, he’s a logical choice – and will no doubt have a comfortable job lined up in a university, with a sideline with a right-wing rag so he can snipe from the sidelines.

The timing of his resignation is no accident. Corbyn supporters have been busy mobilising to help campaign in the Copeland seat to be vacated by fellow entrenched Corbyn opponent Jamie Reed, determined to make a success of a campaign that Labour’s national right-wing figures are not exactly busting a gut to win.

Given that the party’s Blairite faction would be in no way disappointed at a Labour loss there, it makes perfect, if twisted and morally-bankrupt, sense to force the party to divide its resources to fight two tricky seats (both areas voted strongly to leave the EU) at the same time.

A poor result in either seat will be fodder for the ‘moderate’ moaners, who won’t let the fact that this ‘divide resources and conquer‘ move will damage the party they claim to love cause them a moment’s pause in their rush to blame it on Corbyn and his politics.

They don’t really do self-awareness. Or give two figs for the vast majority in this country who desperately need a Labour government.

So, good riddance to bad rubbish in both seats. The ‘real Labour’ majority in the party will just need to roll up their sleeves and make sure we win both – and local members need to make sure they select candidates who are connected, committed to the well-being of the local area and actually care about giving the electorate a genuine alternative to vote for.

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  1. Well done for getting this out so swiftly.

    Another titbit / idea you may wish to note. It was announced in January (17th, I think) that Hunt would be taking up the directorship of the Victoria and Albert Museum from the end of his stint as Stoke MP.

    Left-wing Labour members – or anyone concerned about effective museum management – might consider communicating with the board of the V&A about his suitability for the post.

  2. With a massive 540,000 members – a number now verified by an NEC member and the Leaders own website – this is a massive increase from 2015 so we should easily be able to fight two by-elections at once. as we are bigger than all other parties combined. If people really want our MP’s to change this is another vacancy for a new Labour MP and should actually be welcomed. It’s clear the radical change of Leader means some MP’s who might have become ministers are now moving to other careers which seems inevitable rather anything else. Most MP’s will stay and all bar 3 or 4 are likely to be re-selected based on results of all the By-election and Mayoral contests where people are selecting mainly local campaigners irrespective of internal politics. Thus more vacancies through by-elections provides the main space for new MPs at present

    1. Broadly agree, Charlie. I don’t think the article says anywhere it’s unwelcome – in fact, ‘good riddance’ appears somewhere. 🙂

  3. Mandelson given an inordinate amount of time to bleat about Labours loss on Radio 4 this morning and how he was bullied…diddums.

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