HAMPSTEAD and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq is getting ready to explain her position to constituency members this evening, after backing calls for a Labour Party leadership contest.
This week, she said she didn’t share the view of 20,000 residents in her area who have signed a petition calling for a second EU referendum because she believes people should accept the democratic vote. Tulip adds in the same edition of the CNJ, however, that she does support a second Labour leadership contest amid the party’s current crisis.
She does it without publicly criticising Jeremy Corbyn, and says members should be united behind whoever wins the contest, leaving the door open, you could say, to support the Islington North MP again in the future if he was to win again.
Why does Tulip sound a little more cagey than some of the other high profile Camden politicians who say a leadership contest is necessary? A fair share of constituency members in Hampstead and Kilburn have, over the last nine months, shown themselves loyal to the Labour leader. And in an emergency motion suggesting a vote of confidence is sent to Corbyn in his hour of the need – right at the top of tonight’s agenda – there is a line about how members had “trudged through the rain” to get Labour MPs elected. This naturally includes Tulip, whose campaign worked hard to extend the Labour majority in Hampstead and Kilburn last May, but only to 1,138.
There is a risk of a backlash among these members if she takes a hard stance against Corbyn, and this week she was taking the line that the country should be worrying about the worst effects of the Brexit vote rather than who leads the Labour Party.
In truth, Tulip has always been very adept at balancing both sides of the Labour’s political divide. She now has members who might have been cast as Blairites praising her work and impressed by her debut year in the Commons, while at the same time she is supported by left-wingers, who more or less backed her as their preferred candidate in her original selection battle against Sophie Linden and Sally Gimson, when the seat became vacant with Glenda Jackson’s retirement ahead of the last general election. The trouble with being a friend to all sides, however, is that all sides expect something back in the end, and when civil war breaks out everybody is then pushed into revealing their colours. This evening, Tulip will look to play peacemaker again in front of members with very contrasting opinions.
But the emergency motion – the full text of which is below – is likely to strain relations among the Labour comrades in the north side of the borough who have such stark differences of opinion on Corbyn’s future.. Several members say they are unsure about which way it will fall.
TEXT OF EMERGENCY MOTION
“Welcomes Tulip’s statement that: ‘Responsibility for Brexit lies with a negligent government, not Jeremy Corbyn. Now is the time for Labour to unite and speak to the public.’
This CLP is dismayed and angered by the antics of a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party who have sought to undermine our democratically-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Notes Labour MPs would not have been elected without the efforts of ordinary members, trudging through the streets in the rain to deliver leaflets, putting the party’s case across on the doorstep, organising in communities, and paying their regular subscriptions.
Believes that this is a critical moment which will determine the future of our communities for years to come, and that voters across the country need Labour to be united and fighting to defeat any attacks on workers’ rights, environmental protections, and any increased racism and xenophobia.
We therefore resolve to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, and to condemn the actions of those who are seeking to divide the party and overturn the leader’s democratic mandate.”
TEXT OF MOTION FROM FINCHLEY ROAD AND KILBURN (CAMDEN) branch
“This CLP urges all members of the PLP to do all they can to support Jeremy Corbyn, who was overwhelmingly elected by the membership as Party Leader, and to stop damaging the credibility of the Party by undermining and criticising him in the media.”