Labour expects four – and possibly six – more MPs are preparing to announce their resignations from the Labour Party this weekend.
Following the resignation from the Labour Party on Wednesday of Dudley North MP Ian Austin, which he announced this morning just in time for the weekend news cycle, the SKWAWKBOX can reveal the names of four further MPs that Labour insiders expect to follow suit this weekend in an attempt to maximise the impact of the dwindling band of malcontents.
Newcastle North’s Cat McKinnell, Phil Wilson – who as MP for Sedgefield hosted a fundraiser last year featuring his predecessor Tony Blair, Mitcham & Morden’s Siobhain McDonagh and Wolverhampton South’s Pat McFadden are all expected by Labour sources to announce their departure.
McDonagh and McKinnell have been threatening their likely departure, bedecked by the usual demands, so heavily now that her going will at least bring some peace.
McDonagh is quasi-royalty among the Labour right, closely connected to former general secretary Iain McNicol – her sister is a peer and former Labour general secretary – deputy leader Tom Watson and former right-wing Shadow Chancellor Roy Hattersley.
Two more MPs – better known than the above – are also thought to be in the frame but their intentions have not yet been confirmed.
Attempts have been made to contact all four MPs for comment.
Update: Siobhain McDonagh has responded this morning with a denial:
Hi! This is news to me! I celebrated the 43rd anniversary of joining The Labour Party last Wednesday. Siobhain
However earlier this week she confirmed to the media that she never stops thinking about leaving.
If the departures go ahead as Labour expects – ‘quitters’ have shown a propensity for dithering, especially when pre-empted – will be timed to allow the weekend news media to amplify the idea that this week’s resignations somehow signal renewed pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, rather than being the lemming-like culmination of years of attempted undermining by MPs who have never accepted the party’s status as a genuine left-wing electoral force under the Labour leader.
If the tactic looks familiar, that’s because it is. The string of regular resignations during the 2016 ‘chicken coup’ used the same tactic. That it failed then has not taught the figure behind it any lessons.
Except to space them out further, because far fewer MPs are on board now than were after the 2016 referendum – and those prepared to join in appear to be limited to old intakes pining for the the ‘good old days’ of Blair.
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