MP Reed never consulted us on Corbyn, say Labour members

Steve Reed OBE, the Progress MP for Lambeth South/Croydon North [delete to taste] waited until this morning before joining the exodus of right wingers from the Labour Party’s shadow cabinet, issuing a letter announcing that he is resigning from his junior position in the local government team, he says because of concerns about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Progress: Steve Reed OBE

Progress: Steve Reed OBE

But members of his own constituency party say that Reed’s letter is at best is disingenuous, and at worst includes an outright lie.

“We had the Croydon North Constituency Labour Party annual meeting on Friday night, when members asked Reed about the threats against the leader,” said one activist who was present. “He refused to discuss the matter, saying that there was a meeting at Westminster on Monday and he would talk about it with parliamentary colleagues there.”

In his resignation letter, Reed has written that he made his decision, “After consulting my local constituency party…”

The CLP meeting was well-attended by members, including some Croydon councillors. Those who were there have told Inside Croydon, “He certainly didn’t discuss the party leadership with us.

“The CLP annual meeting would seem to be the ideal place for the MP to discuss such an issue with members. Last year, it was where Croydon North members voted democratically to support Jeremy Corbyn’s nomination for the leadership. Yet this year, Reed did not want to discuss the matter with party members.”

The Blairites’ attempted coup against Corbyn gathered pace shortly after 1am yesterday. A phone call had taken place between Hilary Benn and his party leader, in which the younger brother of a hereditary earl tried to persuade the man elected by 60 per cent of their party’s membership to step down from his elected position.

Corbyn duly sacked his shadow foreign secretary.

Since Benn’s dismissal, more than a dozen members of the shadow cabinet, mostly but not all from the right wing of the party, have released resignation letters. The resignations come ostensibly over disquiet at Corbyn’s performance on behalf of the Remain campaign during the EU Referendum.

Steve Reed OBE's letter of resignation. Croydon Labour Party members say that he refused to discuss the leadership issue at a CLP meeting on Friday evening

Steve Reed OBE’s letter of resignation. Croydon Labour Party members say that he refused to discuss Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership at a CLP meeting on Friday evening

Some observers point out, however, that the long-awaited Chilcot Report into the Iraq War is due for publication in a fortnight. Corbyn is expected to use the report to call for his predecessor as Labour leader, former Prime Minister Tony Bliar, to stand trial for war crimes. So this coup is the Blairites’ last chance to stop Corbyn from doing that as leader of the Labour Party.

Reed’s resignation letter was released just after 8.30am, in time to catch the morning bulletins on the Today programme. Reed is a vice-chair of Progress, the very well-funded party-within-the-party.

Over the weekend, Reed’s political chums, such as his former Lambeth Labour colleague Catriona Ogilvy and Ross Haynes, an ex-Westminster staffer, both called for Corbyn to resign as leader.

 Jeremy Corbyn: under attack from within his own parliamentary group

Jeremy Corbyn: under attack from within his own parliamentary group

Reed, meanwhile, kept an unusually low profile, except for saying on Twitter that “even an MP is allowed a Saturday night off”. Of course, it may be that he was busy with other things, such as the anti-Corbyn plot.

Reed refused to answer questions in the public domain from this website asking whether he would be supporting his party leader.

Reed finally clarified his position in his letter this morning. There was never any real doubt.

“A majority of Labour supporters in large parts of the north and midlands [sic] voted to leave the EU because their connection with our party has broken. We are losing touch with them, a process that has been under way for some time but has speeded up under your leadership,” said the in-touch Reed, who lives in a £1 million house in Surrey’s leafy Shirley Hills.

“There is now a strong possibility of a General Election this Autumn, and I am convinced that Labour faces electoral annihilation from which we may not recover for a generation if you lead us into it.”

Reed’s stance has angered Labour members and supporters in Croydon.

“Reed has seriously let down thousands of Labour Party members in Croydon and across the country who support Jeremy Corbyn and believe in democracy in the party,” one told Inside Croydon today.

“It’s clear there’s been a conspiracy for some months between 30 or so right-wing Labour MPs, based around Progress, to force Jeremy Corbyn out. They tried to do it on the issue of anti-semitism, but failed. They are now using the pretext of the Brexit vote.

“The Right know that they would never win against Corbyn in an election by members of the party, hence they resort to these underhand tactics.”

Another member who was at the Croydon North meeting said, “He didn’t consult the members on Friday. He answered a couple of questions from the floor; on the leadership he just said that he would consult with his parliamentary colleagues before making up his mind today.

“Has he forgotten that Croydon North members nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership?” they said.

Another said, “Several members shouted at Reed, saying that they supported Jeremy.

“One said that they had joined the party because of Corbyn. How can he say now that he’s consulted us?”

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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12 Responses to MP Reed never consulted us on Corbyn, say Labour members

  1. As Brexit has shown us, there are two ways of doing things: the right way and the Boris Johnson way, as chosen by Steve Reed. This way involves waiting for the last possible moment before making up your mind which way to face and then choosing the way that suits your personal needs or ambitions best, regardless of anything you may have said or done in the past.

  2. RJ Newman says:

    Reed said: “After consulting my local constituency party”.

    Labour Party members in Croydon North say that they shouted at him saying that they supported Jeremy, and that one member said that they had joined the party because of Corbyn.

    So… a brief informal consultation took place. Reed chose to ignore it and follow his own, Tory, agenda. But it seems unreasonable to say that he didn’t consult when it was made clear to him that his local party supported Jeremy Corbyn.

    • That is one construction, of course.

      Though the reality of the situation, according to those who attended the meeting, was that Reed was asked by members to engage on his position regarding the party leadership, and he declined to do so.

      If that’s “consulting” the CLP members, then Boris Johnson is a suitable choice for Prime Minister… Oh.

  3. As an ex CLP member of another constituency, can I suggest they deselect him NOW!

  4. farmersboy says:

    Poor old Steve Reed trying to get in with the Blairites by resigning from a job no one even knew he had

  5. RJ Newman says:

    Breaking News: England knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland. Steve Reed blames Jeremy Corbyn.

  6. Pingback: Fuck the Labour Rebels | DaveD's Blog

  7. No-one shouted at Steve Reed. That is a fiction. If anyone was shouting in that meeting it was Tony Newman and Steve Reed who both came across very poorly. I asked the first question in the meeting and made a reference to the fact to the fact I had re-joined Labour after 21 years out of the party because Corbyn became leader. The reply from Steve was insulting “This party isn’t a personality cult”. Well of course it isn’t. I didn’t rejoin because I believe in a cult of Jeremy Corbyn. I rejoined because I support the policies that JC stands for – socialist policies. But Steve did not tell the CLP he was planning to resign and I certainly think he should have consulted us first.

  8. jamie10000 says:

    I’m not convinced Labour can win the next general election with or without Corbyn as leader. Whoever leads them into the election needs to win back the seats they lost in 2015, and beat the tories in key marginals such as Croydon Central. If not Corbyn, then who? Steve Reed?

  9. RJ Newman says:

    One thing that initially surprised me was that I would have expected the vice-chair of the Progress group to be one of the first to resign, not one of the last.
    All becomes clear on finding out that the resignations were being coordinated by Conor McGinn, a Labour whip. He was texting the MPs to tell them when to resign, making sure that each one had made it onto TV before giving the next MP the word to go. So that there was a drip-drip-drip of news all day, maximising the damage to the Labour Party.
    Poor old Reed is so little-known that he was left until almost last before he was given permission to resign. He is not even important to his own side, he’s just one of the pawns.

  10. Martin Odoni says:

    Reblogged this on TheCritique Archives and commented:
    Steve Reed OBE was part of the mass-exodus of MPs from the Shadow Cabinet last week. He claimed that he did so ” “After consulting my local constituency party”. The local constituency party deny that he ever discussed the matter with them.

    More on this from the ‘Inside Croydon’ blog.

  11. solonnewroad says:

    He might have joined the Labour party for that reason although I doubt that’s why he’s stayed in it. Snout in trough is nearer the mark.

    One of the first things he did when Progress Leader at Shambeth council was up his Compensation and special allowances package.

    Presided over consultations to institute organisations like Lambeth Living… none of the all bells and whistles repairs materialised and was the most complained about council service. Our Steve rode to the rescue in his election pledges…

    So nothing he pulls surprises. We all knew as constituents he was only in Lambeth biding his time to be gifted a seat and look at the great heights he is reaching…lying about consulting CLP and ‘using’ his position to send Police round to constituents houses… Progress…

    He might be but it is not.

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