Former Labour minister quits party over treatment of Luciana Berger and Derek Hatton readmission

Posted On: 
18th March 2019

A former Labour minister has quit the party over the treatment of Luciana Berger and the decision to re-admit Derek Hatton.

Jane Kennedy was an MP from 1992 until 2010.
PA Images

Jane Kennedy, who is now the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, said she was "no longer able to defend what the Labour party allows to happen in its name".

Ms Berger, who was Ms Kennedy's successor as MP for Liverpool Wavertree, last month quit Labour to join the newly-formed Independent Group, claiming the party was now "institutionally anti-semitic".

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Shortly beforehand, she had faced two potential votes of no confidence by Labour members in her local constituency, leading to claims she was the victim of bullying.

Ms Kennedy's resignation was revealed after her deputy as PCC, Emily Spurrell, announced she was quitting her job.

In a statement, Ms Spurrell said: "This morning Jane Kennedy informed me that she had made the decision to leave the Labour party.

"I am extremely saddened and disappointed with this decision and believe it is the wrong thing to do for the people of Merseyside who voted for a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner to put Labour values at the heart of policing."

Ms Kennedy, who served as a minister under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown before leaving Parliament in 2010, said: "I am disappointed to report that Emily Spurrell has chosen to resign from her post as my deputy.

"She has done so because I confirmed to her that I left the Labour party after the resignation of Luciana Berger MP and the announcement that Derek Hatton had been re-admitted into party membership.”

She added: "Emily has been aware that I have been deeply disturbed by the abuse suffered by Luciana Berger and other Labour elected members across Merseyside.

"I was elected to promote action against hate crime, amongst other things, and am no longer able to defend what the Labour party allows to happen in its name."

However, Ms Kennedy insisted she would remain as Merseyside PCC until she retires next year.

Former Labour City Council deputy leader Mr Hatton, who was expelled by Labour in 1985 for being a member of Militant, was allowed back into the party last month only to be suspended again days later over a tweet from 2012 about Israel.

The Labour party has been approached for comment about Ms Kennedy's resignation.