Saturday, August 04, 2018

Another day, another Labour resignation

A former minister, Tom Harris, has resigned from the Labour party, saying that 'It's just not the place for me any more.'

There has been a steady drip of Labour resignations in the past year but in my humble opinion this is one of the most significant ones, as Tom Harris, a member of the far from large group of Labour MPs for whom I have much respect, was both one of the more talented and one of the more open minded parliamentarians of his generation.

Mr Harris served as MP for Glasgow Cathcart and then Glasgow South between 2001 and 2015 and as a transport minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 2006 to 2008, before being swept out of parliament in the 2015 SNP surge. He was exactly the sort of person Labour needed to start making inroads again in Scotland and in the political centre.

He told the Scottish Sunday Herald it was a “personal decision” and he did not plan to join another party. He added,

It felt a wee bit like a bereavement, I felt a bit emotional, but it’s just not the place for me anymore. It’s a personal decision. It’s not a comment on any people who have chosen to remain. This is just what’s right for me. It’s just a personal thing.”

I can recommend Tom Harris' book, "Ten years in the death of the Labour Party."

It is a sad thing not just for Labour but for Britain that in these difficult times when the country needs a strong but responsible opposition to hold the government to account, the principal opposition party is in such a state that someone like Tom Harris who had been a member for 34 years no longer feels at home in the party.

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