Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Labour MP for Barrow takes an impossible position

Britain is a parliamentary democracy. Our ministers and Prime ministers are accountable to us through parliament and the way that British elections have worked for more than two hundred years is that the voters choose the government by deciding which party to elect.

There are other ways to run a democracy, but this is the system we use in Britain. Which is why the  statement issued by the Labour MP for Barrow and Furness today a classic case of nonsense on stilts. Or to paraphrase the Independent's John Rentoul, not just on stilts but on telegraph poles.

John Woodcock has announced on his Facebook page here that he is seeking the nomination of his local Labour and Co-operative parties to stand again as Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, yet he also announces in the same statement that, quote,

"I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain's prime minister."

There is a report about his statement here.

This is utterly bizarre - how can you present yourself to the electors of Barrow and Furness as a Labour candidate and at the same time promise not to support making the current leader of that party Prime Minister?

Let us indulge in a "thought experiment" about Mr Woodcock's statement, though at the moment it appears that rational thought in the Labour party really would be an experiment.

Suppose, just suppose, that Labour were to win the forthcoming general election but that there were enough anti-Corbyn Labour MPs like Woodcock to hold the balance of power, and that those MPs  took what he said today to its logical conclusion.

If there were a Labour majority the Queen would have no choice under the constitution but to ask the Labour leader to form a government.

Is Woodcock really saying he would vote that he had no confidence in that government while Jeremy Corbyn was PM?

If not, his statement is empty words.

But if he really means it, then by standing for election on this platform he is asking voters to inflict on the government of our country an even worse version of the chaos which we have witnessed for the past two years in the management of the Labour party. A House of Commons with a Labour majority which refused to support the Labour leader as PM would make Britain ungovernable. The most probable result would be yet another general election a few weeks later.

The only way Mr Woodcock can possibly imagine that he can get away with such a stance is if he is certain Labour are going to lose the election. But if he is re-adopted as the Labour candidate in Barrow and Furness, the only safe option for voters in the constituency is to decline to elect him.


Anonymous said...

I wont be voting for Mr Woodcock

Chris Whiteside said...

Good for you.