EXCL Jeremy Corbyn ally condemns 'self-serving' Jamie Reed for quitting as MP

Posted On: 
22nd December 2016

A close ally of Jeremy Corbyn has launched a furious attack on Jamie Reed's "self-serving" decision to stand down as an MP to take a job in the nuclear industry.

Stop The War national officer John Rees in 2003.
PA Images

John Rees, national officer of the Stop The War Coalition, said the circumstances surrounding Mr Reed's resignation showed "why there needs to be a complete transformation of the Labour movement in this country" with Mr Corbyn at the helm.

He spoke out at a Christmas party staged by the  group in London last night.

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Mr Corbyn also made a speech at the event, although was not in the audience for Mr Rees' speech. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell turned up later in the evening and also addressed the crowd.

Mr Reed stunned Westminster yesterday by announcing he was standing down as Labour MP for Copeland to join Sellafield Ltd as its head of development and community relations.

Bookmakers have already installed the Conservatives as slight favourites to win the seat, which Mr Reed retained with a 2,564 majority at the 2015 general election.

At last night's event, Mr Rees said the development showed "why it’s a good idea to have Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party".

To cheers from the audience, he said: "I see that Jamie Reed has resigned as Labour MP. Can’t say I mind that. But he’s resigned to go and work for Sellafield nuclear facility, telling you all why nuclear power is such a good idea.

"Now what I find objectionable is not that he should resign, but that he thinks that to go from public service to self-serving, representing the nuclear industry is in any way compatible with being on the radical side of politics in this country, because it’s not."

He added: "Think what it means that somebody who only yesterday was representing a core working class constituency in this country thinks that that’s a good job to go and take. Now that’s why there needs to be a complete transformation of the Labour movement in this country, and why Jeremy Corbyn and the principles that he represents, not least the question of green energy, is the right person to be the head of the Labour movement in this country."

In a statement yesterday, Mr Corbyn - who was chairman of Stop The War until last year - said: "I am sorry to hear that Jamie Reed is to stand down as MP for Copeland.

"He has given great service to his party, his country and his constituency. He has been a powerful voice for rural and remote communities and served his community well, campaigning for additional flood defences and infrastructure for Cumbria. I wish him all the best in his future role.

"We now face a by-election and local party members will soon choose a candidate equally committed to Copeland and its people."