Dear Jeremy

With the Labour party in disarray and its leader going nowhere, it’s time for us to ask him to leave
29th June 2016

Dear Jeremy Corbyn

Please, just go.

I voted for you in the Labour leadership contest last year. I was pleased when you won, and hoped your selection as leader would result in a proper, coherent opposition that would set itself apart from the Tories. I was fed up with a Labour party that failed to oppose benefit cuts, that supported the terrible Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Act, and I hoped for a leader who would take the fight to the Government.

It hasn’t really worked out that way, has it?

I know you haven’t been treated fairly, I know how badly the right wing press have treated you, I know that members of your own party have had it in for you since long before your selection, but even given that treatment you’ve failed to make the progress you should have.

At the start, I could convince myself that you were at least acting as a catalyst for positive outcomes, that when for example the Ministry of Justice broke off its contract advising the Saudi government it was doing so in part because of your pressure, and not that of legal commentators. But watching PMQ session after PMQ session, I watched you fail to take advantage of countless opportunities to hold the Government to account. The Tory party has been in disarray over the past year, you should have been  able to keep them permanently on the back foot, and yet they carried on largely unscathed.

And while it’s a shame that you’ve been so badly treated by the media, your answer seems to have been to pretend they don’t exist rather than to attempt to manage your party’s public face, which has simply left the way clear for your opponents. You haven’t even learnt the lesson of the DRIP Act, because Labour is actually helping the Tories shepherd through the far worse IP Bill. Why?

Even through all this, though, I still supported you, and still voted for your party. But your behaviour in the EU referendum campaign, and the resulting fall-out, has ended that support.

It was Labour party policy to campaign to remain in Europe, but you couldn’t bring yourself to take part. It was your duty as leader to campaign in this the most important political event in a generation, and your failure to do your duty has left the field clear for the Leave campaign to lie their way to victory, and to the chaos that now threatens all our futures.

If you felt you couldn’t support the Remain campaign, you should have stepped aside, you should have let others in the Labour party form a strong campaign. An exit from Europe would hurt the poorest and most disadvantaged more than anyone else, and you should have been shouting this from the rooftops. But instead, we were left wondering what Labour’s position really was, and it was confusing just at the moment when we needed a clear message and decisive action to promote it.

We need decisive action again now. With the Government in chaos over whether they genuinely want to invoke Article 50, divided against themselves after a campaign based on lies, we desperately need a clear pro-EU message from Labour. We won’t get it from you, will we? It’s questionable whether anybody could campaign as vigorously as is now needed for  a result in which they don’t wholly believe, but you have shown you won’t even try.

Instead of showing leadership at this time of crisis, instead of trying to calm a country very worried about what is going to happen next, and instead of facing the challenge to your leadership in a dignified way, you instead took the opportunity of a Momentum rally to inflame the crowd against your own party. We need a cohesive Labour party, and we need Labour to be working alongside the other parties to steer us away from the abyss that the Tories and UKIP have marched us towards. I don’t think you’re interested in that vision, and even if you were interested the rest of the party is not with you.

We always need a strong opposition, whoever is in power, and I believe many of the problems of the Blair years can be traced back to the weakness and disorganisation of the Tory opposition at the time – the Labour government were not effectively challenged. We need a strong opposition now, as never before, and there is no time to spare for waiting around to see if you can pull yourself together to lead that strong opposition.  The Labour party must get itself organised and be campaigning on a pro-EU platform before the next Prime Minister has a chance even to consider pressing the Article 50 button.

So please Jeremy, however much you think you deserve to lead the Labour party, understand that if you try to hang on to power now, there may not be a party for you to lead. There may not even be a whole UK for you to lead.

Please, for the good of the Labour party, for the good of the country, for the good of Europe and the rest of the world, step aside.

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