The inaugural SKWAWKBOX Labour MP of the year awards seek to recognise the commitment of Labour MPs to their constituents, to their members and to creating a genuinely-changed society – against all the efforts of the Establishment to maintain the ‘they’re all the same’ status quo that prevents our citizens from recognising what’s being done to our country or at least from voting or acting to change it.
There are five award categories. The winners have been selected in consultation with a number of senior Labour campaigners.
New MP of the year (2017 intake until the next General Election)
Winner: Laura Pidcock, North-West Durham
Reasons: Ms Pidcock has entered Parliament with a fierce determination to represent her constituents – and just as fierce a determination to resist Westminster’s attempts to make her part of the ‘club’.
Her interview with the SKWAWKBOX, in which she stated that she had no intention of forming friendships with Tory MPs because their policies were hurting her constituents, went viral and was featured by all the mainstream press and broadcasters. It made her a target for right-wing MPs and the ‘MSM’ eager to maintain the cosy, clubby system that provides them with prestige and career opportunities. But she has handled the pressure with good grace, without compromising her readiness to call attention to the wrongs she perceives.
Her strong start to her tenure as an MP makes her one to watch for the future – but also an MP who will need all our support as the Establishment continues to concentrate its fire on her.
Best community MP
Winner: Emma Dent Coad, Kensington
Taking what was previously a comfortably Tory seat by just twenty votes must have been challenging enough for Ms Dent Coad in June – but to face the aftermath of the terrible Grenfell Tower blaze in her new constituency just six days after the election must have been daunting indeed.
Yet Ms Dent Coad, who was a councillor in the area before becoming its MP, has been a tower of strength for survivors and neighbours of the tower facing indifference, incompetence and callousness from the Tory-controlled council and Tory government.
On top of that, her fearless representation of her constituents made her a target of some of the most brutal, cynical, hypocritical smear attacks – yet she hasn’t wavered or compromised, challenging the Tories, speaking with exemplary frankness about the government and its compromised public inquiry and never ceasing to highlight the needs and suffering of Grenfell residents.
Best media performer
Winner: Barry Gardiner, Brent North
Mr Gardiner was not a particularly well-known figure to many of Labour’s new members, but Theresa May’s decision to call a snap General Election was the trigger for him to become one of the best known and liked Labour MPs, thanks to his unfailing courtesy yet merciless dissection of the nonsense of a string of TV and radio interviewers. Gardiner even called Sky’s Adam Boulton on the contrast between his treatment of Labour guests and his kid-glove treatment of Tory mouthpieces.
Back-bench MP of the year
Winner: Grahame Morris, Easington
Morris is not only one of the nicest people in politics, but also one of the least assuming. He held down several ministerial briefs during one of the toughest periods for the pre-election Corbyn leadership before returning graciously (and exhausted) to the back-benches, yet still found time continue his steadfast work on behalf of the NHS and to champion the ‘WASPI’ women robbed of their pension entitlement by the government.
Best overall MP
Winner: Chris Williamson, Derby North
Very nearly as accomplished a media performer as Gardiner, Chris Williamson has established himself as a favourite of Labour’s left-wing membership majority with his good-humoured fearlessness, his innovative ‘Week in Westminster’ video series and his steadfast support for his party leader – and the flip-side of the coin, his readiness to call out disloyal colleagues.
That popularity and outspokenness have also made him the target of some of the most relentless attacks and smears from the Establishment – and especially from the Labour right, both in and out of Parliament.
Those attacks seem only to have strengthened Williamson’s resolve to say it as he sees it.
Special mentions also go to:
- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his award from the International Peace Bureau
- Dawn Butler for her ‘Labour MP of the Year’ award from the Patchwork Foundation
- Dennis Skinner on becoming the longest continually-serving Labour MP in history this month
Congratulations to the worthy winners, who sadly will receive nothing but our admiration and a commemorative tweet – and hopefully plenty of messages of approval and affirmation from SKWAWKBOX readers and others for their integrity and sterling work.
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