Local workers’ unions have slammed a former Northampton parliamentary candidate for posting a video urging Jeremy Corbyn to step down as Labour leader - labelling the clip as an act of “treachery.”
Northampton branches of transport workers’ union ASLEF and postal workers’ body the CWU have condemned what they call an “ongoing coup” to “oust” the party boss in recent days.
Yesterday a series of Midlands party members, including recent parliamentary candidate for Northampton South Kevin McKeever, signed a letter urging Mr Corbyn to resign.
But a video posted by Mr McKeever, who also ran unsuccessfully in the recent police and crime commissioner election, has drawn the most ire from Northampton’s union members.
In the video Mr McKeever, said: “The Labour Party has to be united around a credible candidate to be a Prime Minister and to form a government
“In my view that’s not Jeremy Corbyn.
“It is my personal assessment that the majority of members in Northampton remain supportive of the leader and actually despise disloyalty and opportunism much more.”CWU branch secretary Paul Bosworth
“He has many great qualities - leadership is not one of them.”
But Northampton branches of the ASLEF and CWU, major backers of the Labour party, are to host a joint meeting this Saturday in support of Mr Corbyn.
CWU branch secretary Paul Bosworth called the rounding on the leader as “the worst kind of self-serving politics.”
And in respect of Mr McKeever, he said: “To the best of my understanding Mr McKeever is a two-time candidate in Northampton, who was twice unsuccessful and is not an elected official of the Labour Party at any level, so he had no mandate to suggest he was conveying the views of the local party.
“He is of course entitled to his own opinion, but has no elected legitimacy to speak for anyone else. It is my personal assessment that the majority of members in Northampton remain supportive of the leader and actually despise disloyalty and opportunism much more.”
The spat marks a difficult week for the Labour party.
Here in Northampton Labour Councillors Danielle Stone, Catherine Russell, Janice Duffy, Naz Choudary, Vicky Culbard and Zoe Smith have joined 500 more Labour councillors across the UK in signing a letter asking for Corbyn’s resignation.
Group leader Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) said Corbyn had lost the confidence in his party.
She said: “Any political leader must listen and work with their colleagues and if they don’t have confidence in you then the game is up. It is disappointing Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t understand this.
“In the past we have seen Leaders of Northampton Borough Council having to resign because their political colleagues have lost faith in their abilities.
“I hugely regret this turmoil at the top of the Labour Party and the longer Jeremy hangs on then the more damage he does to the Labour Party. I totally agree with our recent Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, Kevin McKeever.”
Councillor Terrie Eales’ name was also placed on the list - however the member for Kings Heath demanded it be removed, having never agreed to sign it.
The meeting of the two unions will take place on Saturday, July 2, at the Doddridge Centre in St James Road, between 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
Only Labour party members can attend.
Graham Croucher, ASLEF branch secretary, will chair the meeting.
He said: “The reason the meeting is only open to party members is, we will be discussing internal party matters and enough of our dirty laundry is being hung out publicly at present, so it needs to be a closed meeting.
“The outputs from it will be cascaded accordingly.”
Kevin McKeever said he made the video because the Labour party os facing, what he calls, an “existential crisis.”
He said: “I fully respect the views of those who support Jeremy Corbyn, both in and outside of the Labour Party, but in these uncertain times it’s Labour’s historic responsibility to look beyond a narrow section of our membership and seek to unite around a new leader who can appeal to the whole country.
“I’m grateful for the avalanche of emails, calls, texts and direct messages from members and voters who believe it’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to go. Sadly, due to the organised anger of the hard left and group of paid trade union officials, many feel unable to voice such views in public forums for fear of being shouted down. To those people, rest assured: your voice is being heard.”