Top Labour MP lifts lid on 'lack of communication and respect' working for Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
30th July 2016

A senior Labour MP has offered a damning assessment of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership as she lifted the lid on her time working for him.

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson has written a frank assessment of her time under Jeremy Corbyn

Sharon Hodgson, who has been an MP for over a decade and served in various shadow ministerial roles, explained how she was “completely undermined” by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and not backed up by Mr Corbyn.

The Washington and Sunderland West MP said shadow ministers were "over-run by the leadership or ignored" on policy. 

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Ms Hodgson, who was one of 60 of Mr Corbyn's shadow ministerial team who resigned in protest at his leadership last month, also warned Labour was “teetering on the edge of political irrelevance”.

In a candid account posted on her website, the former shadow education minister told of the “lack of respect” for her work under Mr Corbyn and laid out why she was backing Owen Smith for leader.

She recounted an astonishing incident following work on a manifesto policy around children with special needs and disabilities – putting the plans together, seeking media coverage and launching the proposals.

“Three days after the launch, I found out that my review had been completely undermined by our Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell,” Ms Hodgson wrote.

“Without consulting me, John had announced his support for a Shadow Neurodiversity Minister and an autism manifesto.

“My office picked up John’s announcement on Twitter, and subsequently raised the issue with him, requesting an opportunity to meet to discuss the matter further.

“After receiving no response, my team made several more attempts to reach out to John’s office, which were all met with no answer.”

Ms Hodgson says she went to Mr Corbyn with her complaint, to which he said “I appreciate the point” but never followed up with a promised apology or discussion.

Ms Hodgson went on: “In all my time in Parliament, I have never experienced such lack of communication or respect for a shadow minister’s work from a Leader.

“To form a credible and effective opposition, a Leader must work with the PLP and respect the opinions of their shadow ministers.

“Jeremy needs to lead his MPs as well as the membership. Sadly, Jeremy has failed to fulfil the parliamentary aspect of his role from day one.”

'ON THE EDGE OF IRRELEVANCE'

Elsewhere in the frank account, Ms Hodgson argued belief in social justice was not “the monopoly of one person or one faction” of Labour, and said: “Sadly, Jeremy has shown he isn't up to the job.”

She warned that Labour was “teetering on the edge of political irrelevance,” adding: “Crucial swing voters will never vote for a Labour government led by Jeremy.”

Labour has faced a string of dire poll ratings in the last week, including two giving the Conservatives double digit leads and one suggesting millions of Labour voters at the last election would now back Theresa May.

Responding to the grim numbers, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn's leadership campaign said: "Before the attempts began to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader, Labour and the Tories were neck-and-neck in the polls.

"The actions of a few, at a time of national crisis, have damaged the party in the short term.”