THE GENERAL ELECTION was a surprise – and it’s bound to lead to a few more surprising utterances and events. Straight out of the stalls is John Woodcock, Labour MP for Barrow and Furness in Cumbria – who seems to be rather over-estimating his worth to the nation.
Woodcock was first elected as an MP at the 2010 General Election – after working for John Hutton (the former MP for Barrow and Furness) and Gordon Brown. It’s been an eventful first term in office – including a spell as Chair of the organisation Labour Friends of Israel and a brush with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
A further highlight was his period as Chair of Progress – a well funded group which is campaigning for a return to the policies of Tony Blair (which is also active in Tower Hamlets – Labour Councillor and Deputy Mayor Rachael Saunders was elected in the councillors’ section of the Progress Strategy Bard in 2016, topping the poll with 66 votes – though it is not clear whether she attended any meetings).
Mixed up in this is the touchy subject of nuclear weapons. Many jobs in Barrow depend on the manufacture of the submarines which house the Trident nuclear missiles. Woodcock supports this manufacturing in order to keep the jobs of his constituents safe, whereas Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn would prefer that the shipyards were converted to manufacture products which were less harmful.
It should be little surprise, then, that Woodcock has greeted the announcement of a General Election by posting a video on his Facebook page – in which he says that he would like to stand as the Labour candidate in the election, but refuses to support Corbyn. It’s an astonishing display of disloyalty.
The key part of Woodcock’s address explains his support for the UK’s weapons of mass destruction:
“I will always be proud of the role that I was able to play in securing the historic vote that is bringing 20 years of work with the Dreadnought programme to Barrow shipyards.”
He then goes on to explain why he wants to be the Labour candidate and the dangers a renewed Tory Government could bring – before getting down to explaining his position on Corbyn:
“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 […] 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. […] There is still of course time for Jeremy to stand down rather than lead Labour to defeat.”
Woodcock’s statement is nothing new: he summed up his derision for Corbyn by announcing that under Corbyn’s leadership Labour was “fucked”. Woodcock won his Barrow in Furness seat with 21,226 votes (48.1%) – a majority of 5,208. Corbyn won the leadership of the Party with 313,209 votes (61.8%) – a majority of 119,980. Woodcock should get a sense of proportion.
•See John Woodcock’s video here: