Labour’s new shadow equalities minister has rounded on her new boss – calling Jeremy Corbyn’s actions “offensive and hurtful” just days after she was appointed.
Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South and Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, hailed the 66-year-old’s crushing election victory at the weekend.
“And he has said quite clearly that he was simply standing there in respectful silence”.
Although most senior figures in Scottish Labour, including leader Kezia Dugdale, are more centrist in their approach compared with the left-wing Corbyn, they believe they can capitalise on the momentum from his leadership campaign and take on the SNP at their own game.
“I want everyone to bring their views forward, every union branch, every party branch, so we develop organically the strengths we all have, the ideas we all have, the imagination we all have”, he said. “And that is what’s really important and that is what Labour’s all about”.
Setting out plans for a change from the system of top-down policymaking, he said digital technology made it easier to increase consultation on the party’s platform for the next election.
A one-time rank outsider to win the party leadership contest, more than 250,000 people turned out to vote the old school left-winger onto the front benches.
He added: “We are not going to give Cameron a free hand on any negotiations at all”.
“As he said in the words issued this morning, the heroism of the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain is something to which we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude”.
He learnt that 100 Labour MPs were preparing to defy him by preparing to campaign publicly for Britain to stay in the European Union “with or without” the new leader’s support.
“It’s a shame that some of our best talent, including Yvette, have chosen not to serve in the shadow cabinet, but they will still be serving the party and the country as Labour MPs in Parliament”.
But he appeared to welcome the reformed format and agreed that the weekly sessions should include some more “substantial” questions.
“Jeremy and I agree on our commitment to excellence in state education, raising aspirations for all children and to an accountable, managed system which has local oversight”.