Why did Seema Malhotra resign?

sophy ridge 26 june seema malhotra resigns the day after she backed jeremy corbyn

Seema Malhotra is at the center of yet another smear campaign to topple Jeremy Corbyn. She alleges that he and/or his staff are illegally involved in break-ins of the offices of his critics, including Seema Malhotra: shades of Watergate, possibly?

Having lost her office when she resigned last month, her latest allegation looks very odd indeed. Jeremy Corbyn is apparently being held responsible for a problem caused by Rosie Winterton – Labour’s chief whip – someone who has been undermining his leadership for as long as Seema Malhotra has. I smell a rat.

Anyone paying attention would have realised that Seema Malhotra was never on board the Jeremy Corbyn leadership; then again, that isn’t unusual, and despite all the resignations there are still more waiting in the wings, and everyone knows who they are.

To get a glimpse of what Seema Malhotra is up to, let’s look at her record. The day before she resigned as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, she shared the platform with Labour’s leader as he explained he would stand for reelection if there is a new contest provoked by any challenger.

Seema Malhotra gave no indication that she didn’t want Jeremy to be reelected at any point in this press conference, including when he responded to Sophy Ridge’s question asking him why he wasn’t resigning.

The next day, possibly less than an hour before she resigned, Seema Malhotra was the subject in an interview of John McDonnell by Andrew Neil. Everyone should watch it again: it’s on Youtube, and you’ll find it at the bottom of this blog.

By the way, after this interview, all the commentators on Sunday Politics essentially told John McDonnell that if he geninely didn’t know Seema Malhotra had been vigorously canvassing for him to replace Jeremy Corbyn, making it easier for him to stand aside, then he’s the only one who was blind to this. While I wasn’t sure what her specific role  was, I had complained about John McDonnell for refusing to put a stop to speculation about his replacing Jeremy Corbyn when polls went around Twitter and elsewhere trying to find out which is the candidate best placed to defeat  Jeremy Corbyn if they could force him to resign; the only MP who stood any chance was John McDonnell.

It was obvious to me that this anonymous canvassing was being done in order to test the waters. Blairites needed to know how much they needed to concede in order to get rid of Corbyn, and the best they could do was enlist John McDonnell. If he couldn’t be persuaded, they were screwed.

There is no chance John McDonnell couldn’t have been aware of this…. When I complained to the holders of these anonymous accounts behind these polls, I was told to mind my own business. Why didn’t John tell them to get that trash off Twitter? It damaged Jeremy Corbyn, and could only help Blairites and John himself.

Jeremy Corbyn is the leader for me, and the Prime Minister I want. I held John in great esteem prior to his being given the job of shadow chancellor. Since that time, he has made far too many mistakes for my liking. I would not be happy for him to replace Jeremy at this point. There are many reasons for that. One of them is he is being praised endlessly by Blairites and Tory commentators as a much more ‘credible leader’ which is certainly not the case. I think their endoresement is the kiss of death: the opposite effect to the demand for Jeremy Corbyn to resign delivered by David Cameron.

There are many reasons why John McDonnell badly needs to repair the damage to his reputation for me, and I suspect for many others, to accept him as a safe pair of hand when Jeremy Corbyn is not able to carry on as leader. One of my grave reservations is his astonishing about turn on Britain’s secret police: MI5.

Len McCluskey is coming under a great deal of criticism from the British Establishment for his – perfectly credible – suggestion that they could be behind at least some of the anonymous trolling and threats, smashed windows. Responsibility for that has been laid at the foot of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. Until I see a shred of evidence, I’m going with the Bob Lambert theory. No way does any of this help Momentum and if anyone is found guilty, they’re on their own. The best they can expect is compassion on the grounds of their suffering from some kind of mental health problem, hopefully exacerbated by youthful immaturity which, thankfully, is something society can cure with proper rehabilitation, empathy etc.

A second problem for me is John McDonnell’s leapfrogging from being a man reputedly to Jeremy Corbyn’s left, to one making one unacceptable concession to the Blairites after the other. His endless rejection of members deciding who they want to be Labour’s candidates makes zero sense. This more than anything else explains why Blairites have no problem with John McDonnell being their ‘compromise’ leader.

Whatever John McDonnell thinks, Labour’s members have had enough. The time has come to deselect 172 MPs determined to waste yet another year telling voters that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister and it would be best to stick with the Tories. Then they’d do it for another year. Only they’re not going to get the chance.

The Blairite Chicken Coup is the last straw. These MPs accept the majority vote of half a million Labour members or they know where the door is. They can hold onto their party card just like every other member. They can rehabilitate themselves at some point in the future, getting themselves selected as official candidates if they work hard enough. But it’s not going to be the next general election. Labour’s Prime Minister will require MPs pickednot by Jeremy Corbyn, but by local members, picked for loyalty to the members and the members’ manifesto, as well as the party’s main spokesperson. And, today, that just so happens to be Jeremy Corbyn.

 

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