Neil Coyle, the Labour Member of Parliament for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, has resigned from his role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Leader of the House, joining dozens of others who have quit Jeremy Corbyn’s top team over the weekend.
MP Neil made the announcement this morning after twelve members of the Shadow Cabinet resigned saying they do not have confidence in Corbyn’s leadership.
In his resignation letter, MP Neil criticized Corbyn for his “lack of energy and zeal” which made the “narrow margin” of the referendum result “less forgivable”.
His resignation carries significance as MP Neil was one of the Labour MPs who decided to nominate Corbyn for the leadership position.
He was keen to distance himself from Corbyn, however, and recently co-penned an article with the late-Jo Cox saying how he had come to “regret” that decision.
Here’s his resignation letter in full:
I am writing to tender my resignation as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Leader of the House team.
Since the EU referendum result on Thursday, I have been contacted by many members of my CLP and constituents who have expressed their deep disappointment at the lack of leadership shown by you in the campaign. My local team and members across Southwark gave 10/10 to secure almost 73% support for retaining EU membership. Your self-confessed ‘7-10’ effort has upset many and contributed to the narrow result for Brexit despite their campaign of lies.
In my constituency we have already seen job losses. Companies have not signed leases they had intended to last Friday. My constituency has the third highest financial sector employment in the country and already we see companies like Morgan Stanley and HSBC indicate they will transfer jobs to EU member states. This affects employment in my constituency and the associated roles that support their offices, including cleaners, security, cafes and pubs. More job losses seem likely in the ensuing weeks and months.
My constituency also benefits from ever seven million tourists every year, visiting the Tate Modern and Imperial War Museum for example. Domestic tourism will be affected as the economy shrinks. International tourism seems bound to be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The referendum result will be very sorely felt and the narrow margin by which it was lost makes your lack of energy and zeal less forgivable.
Many in my constituency and across the country were dismayed by the tone of the referendum debate. The Leave campaign evoked hate and spread lies. My members have suggested you did too little to challenge the negative narrative. Cameron lacked credibility to tackle public concerns over accessing GPs swiftly, parents’ ability to get kids in the schools of their choice, and worries over the housing market. The public blamed the EU when six years of Coalition and Tory Government choices to undermine public services were more responsible. Support for house building of all tenures, but especially social housing, and a drop in home ownership have occurred under Cameron. Pressure on the NHS has leaped under Cameron. And class sizes are growing and unqualified teachers entering classrooms whilst Cameron’s Governments have been fixated on school structure instead of quality and choice.
You should have been in a strong position to make sure for the EU and to expose Cameron, Osborne and Clegg for their Government’s responsibility on these issues. Instead your absence was felt on the Labour In bus and across the country, but especially in my constituency where the housing crisis is acute and the population is growing rapidly, putting additional pressure on families and services.
In September you also promised a broader debate. This hasn’t emerged. We now face an earlier election without any substantive debate on Labour’s future having been had in nine months of your leadership. This is disappointing for the members who previously backed you and those MPs who were willing to broaden debate when you sought our nominations.
It also means that my activists are routinely faced by people saying, even where still undecided or sympathetic towards you, they do not know what you want to achieve for them or their families. This was brutally exposed in the Vice documentary which you sanctioned and left your supporters in bewilderment. You have failed to explain what it is you want to do if elected Prime Minister other than not be a Tory. Our Party and my constituents deserve much better.
If you cannot be persuaded to step down you risk not just potentially destroying the Labour Party, but imposing further Tory Government in the UK. This will mean further pressure on housing and public services and risks even greater social division, leaving my younger constituents with an even less secure furture.
I know this is not what you want. I also know that you are a decent man. I hope you take this opportunity to do the decent, dignified and honourable thing.