Labour MP John Woodcock: I can't vote for Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister

Posted On: 
18th April 2017

A Labour MP has said he will seek re-election on 8 June - but insisted he cannot back Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister.

John Woodcock said he cannot support Jeremy Corbyn's bid to be Prime Minister.
PA Images

John Woodcock said the Labour leader's lifelong opposition to Britain's nuclear deterrent meant he "will not countenance" ever voting to put Mr Corbyn into Number 10.

The Barrow-in-Furness MP's surprise comments, in a video message to his constituents, put him on a collision course with party bosses just hours after Theresa May announced her plan to go to the country in seven weeks' time.

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Mr Woodcock, a long-term critic of Mr Corbyn, said he was "proud" of what he had achieved since being elected as an MP in 2010.

He also said the Conservatives were putting the country "on the wrong track" and putting jobs at risk with their approach to Brexit.

"I intend to seek re-nomination from my local Labour and Co-operative parties to be their official candidate," he said.

"But I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain's Prime Minister. I realise that Jeremy has been elected and then re-elected as the leader of my party, but my first duty is to you, my constituents.

"Jeremy's opposition to the Trident renewal programme is lifelong and is well-known. But more than that, I cannot countenance endorsing him for a role which I think even he, although he may say differently in front of the cameras, does not think he is fit to carry out. 

"My party, locally and nationally, will need to decide how to treat my desire for re-selection in these circumstances. There is still of course time for Jeremy to stand down rather than lead Labour to defeat, but I promised when I first asked you to vote for me that I would put Furness first and that means in these circumstances doing what is right rather than what is easy."

The ourburst came as Labour MPs Tom Blenkinsop and Alan Johnson announced they would not stand for re-election in June, amid claims there could be an "exodus" of their colleagues in the run-up to the poll.