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:
— Liz Kendall (@leicesterliz) January 13, 2017
Deeply saddened that @TristramHuntMP is standing down. Huge loss to Parliament, and to the entire Labour movement.
— Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock) January 13, 2017
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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