The Labour left has finally got its man in Birkenhead
In A Strange, Eventful History, his intellectual history of the Labour Party, Edmund Dell chronicles the abject failure of economic socialism. This was a decline Dell had witnessed as the Labour MP for Birkenhead. Soon after Dell’s retirement the economic socialists returned and sought to replace his successor. Yesterday they finally got their man.
Frank Field has been Labour MP for Birkenhead for almost 40 years but will now sit as an independent Labour MP to head off the imminent threat of deselection by his constituency party members. In 1988 Mr Field successfully defied an attempt by the Trotskyist group, Socialist Organiser, to replace him with someone of their own ideological persuasion.
Frank Field is not leading a Labour breakaway
Every avalanche, it is said, starts with a single pebble, and in Westminster terms, Frank Field is a pretty hefty pebble.
The chair of the Work and Pensions Committee is one of Parliament’s lone wolves – austere and relentless in a series of policy battles stretching back across the decades.
On the committee corridor at the Palace of Westminster, he is a formidable figure who has savaged the bosses of Carillion and BHS, been a thorn in the side of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, and, if your memory stretches back across the decades, the scourge of the Maxwell brothers.
So is his departure from the Labour whip the beginning of the much predicted split in the party?
Not by design, anyway.
Anti-Semitism row: Frank Field considers triggering by-election
Veteran MP Frank Field has said he is considering triggering a by-election in his Birkenhead constituency.
He has quit the Labour whip over the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations but wants to continue sitting as an “independent Labour” MP.
He also attacked the “culture of nastiness” in Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Mr Corbyn’s supporters said he had quit because he was facing de-selection by local party members in Birkenhead.
Frank Field not ruling out byelection after resigning Labour whip
MP declines to say he will not trigger vote in Birkenhead as he criticises Jeremy Corbyn
Frank Field has refused to rule out triggering a byelection after resigning the Labour whip, saying Jeremy Corbyn has failed to address the reasons for his decision.
The veteran Birkenhead MP, who was due to hold talks on Friday with Labour’s chief whip, Nick Brown, told the Guardian he had yet to decide on his next step after announcing that he had resigned the whip because of antisemitism and a culture of bullying in the party.
“I am very clear in the letter to Nick that I wish to remain a member of the Labour party as I have been for 60 years. But I wish to sit as an independent Labour party member,” Field said.
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