The Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn
House of Commons
28th June 2016
Having reflected overnight following the PLP meeting I have decided to stand down as Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry after 11 years on the Labour front bench. I do so after a great deal of agonising because by instinct I am a loyalist. In 15 years in the Commons I have voted only once against the Party’s position when on March 18th 2003 with 138 Labour colleagues including yourself I voted against the war in Iraq.
From last night’s meeting it is clear that today’s PLP vote of no confidence in your leadership will carry. You made it clear that you would not stand down whatever the outcome. In a subsequent leadership contest colleagues serving on your front bench, including me, will inevitably be expected to nominate or publicly support you for Leader. Although I have the greatest respect for you, I have always believed that it is my duty in any contest to support the person I genuinely believe would make the best Leader of the party with the potential to be elected as a future Labour Prime Minister. Despite your many admirable qualities as a campaigner on often unpopular causes, I would not feel able to nominate or support you for leader.
It was not my intention to resign, but it would be dishonest of me to stay under these circumstances. I want to thank you for allowing me to serve, and I am proud of the work we did to win major concessions on the odious Trade Union Bill, our defeat of the Tories on Sunday Trading, and our success in dragging the Tory government, against its ideological instincts, towards intervening to save our vital steel industry.
In closing I thank you for your unfailing courtesy as a colleague over many years, but given the situation I feel that it is only right that I should step down.
Kevin Brennan MP