‘Stay and fight’ MPs cower at first crack of the whip
ELEVEN left Labour MPs defied Starmer and the right by putting their names to a Stop The War petition.
Their rebellion immediately crumbled when the chief whip read the riot act to them threatening having to join Jeremy Corbyn in Independent exile.
They each received a letter saying that if they did not immediately withdraw their names from the petition, which was highly critical of NATO, they might have the party Whip withdrawn.
The petition says that NATO “should call a halt to its eastward expansion and commit to a new security deal for Europe which meets the needs of all states and peoples,” adding: “We refute the idea that NATO is a defensive alliance, and believe its record in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Libya over the last generation, not to mention the US-British attack on Iraq, clearly proves otherwise.”
The rebels included such icons of the left as Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Richard Burgon. To no one’s surprise they all buckled under and humiliatingly withdrew their support which makes a complete mockery of their oft repeated call for left wing party members to “stay and fight” rather than resign in disgust with Starmer and his cronies.
A Labour spokesperson said: “The small number of Labour MPs that signed the Stop The War statement have all now withdrawn their names. This shows Labour is under new management. With Keir Starmer’s leadership there will never be any confusion about whose side Labour is on – Britain, Nato, freedom and democracy – and every Labour MP now understands that.”
The group did not represent “benign voices for peace”, Starmer said, adding: “At best they are naive, at worst they actively give succour to authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies. There is nothing progressive in showing solidarity with the aggressor when our allies need our solidarity and – crucially – our practical assistance now more than ever.”
The other 10 second rebels were: Tahir Ali, Apsana Begum, Ian Mearns, Ian Lavery, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Zarah Sultana, Mick Whitley and Beth Winter.
Other MPs still supporting the petition include Jeremey Corbyn and Claudia Webbe, both former Labour MPs who, for different reasons, have had the whip withdrawn and sit as Independent MPs.
Andrew Scattergood, co-chair of Labour’s faded left Momentum, said: “It beggars belief that the Labour leadership instead focuses on a week-old statement in an attempt to wage factional warfare against them, while a real war wages on against the Ukrainian people.”
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