Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith last night suffered defeat in a no-confidence vote by her local CLP (constituency Labour party, by a margin of 27 votes to 20.
Smith’s response was sour and completely dismissive of local members’ views:
Smith has been vocal in criticism of the Labour Party over alleged antisemitism, including an ill-judged tweet attacking comments by what proved to be a fake account, and regularly shares tweets by the Tony Blair Institute.
Interestingly, since she mentioned the ‘biggest crisis since Suez’ faced by the UK, she also shared a tweet by Tory commentator Dan Hodges praising Theresa May’s ‘dignity, courage and resilience‘:
Smith, who has received donations in kind from the water-related companies and chairs an All-Party Parliamentary Group largely funded by the water industry, has also attacked Labour’s plans to re-nationalise it.
She was also one of four Labour MPs who abstained on a Labour amendment to Philip Hammond’s budget to increase taxes on the wealthiest.
In spite of there being no shortage of reasons why Penistone and Stocksbridge members might be less than satisfied with her performance, Ms Smith’s instant reaction was to dismiss the vote of no confidence by attacking a ‘cabal of hard left members’ supposedly responsible for it.
This reaction bore a striking resemblance to that of another unpopular right-wing MP, Enfield North’s Joan Ryan, who attacked ‘Trots Stalinists Communists and assorted hard left‘ when she suffered a similar reverse in September:
Smith’s defeat was subsequently lamented by an array of the usual suspects on Labour’s parliamentary right, some of whom have also recently been on the receiving end of no-confidence votes.
It seems denial is not just a river in Egypt, as the old saying goes.
But Labour’s new rules make it far easier for Labour members to deselect MPs they feel are failing to represent them or are positively undermining the party. Have these MPs simply learned nothing from the last three years, or it is merely that Blairite die-hards have decided there’s no mileage in trying to build bridges with local members.
Angela Smith was contacted for comment.
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