Waveney Labour activists criticise party’s infighting over Jeremy Corbyn

New mayor of Lowestoft, Nick Webb

New mayor of Lowestoft, Nick Webb - Credit: Archant

'This is not the time or place to be having a leadership contest' - that is the view of some of Labour's leading activists in Waveney after Jeremy Corbyn faced a motion of no confidence.

Waveney councillor Sonia Barker

Waveney councillor Sonia Barker - Credit: Archant

Mr Corbyn has said he will not 'betray' grassroots members who voted for him last year after members of his shadow cabinet and ministerial team resigned en masse, claiming he was not up to the job.

Top of their criticisms is that Mr Corbyn did not do enough to get Labour voters to back the 'remain' campaign in the European Union referendum.

But Cath Pickles, Labour's candidate in this year's Suffolk police and crime commissioner (PCC) election, said Mr Corbyn had achieved his aim of ensuring two-thirds of the party membership voted to remain.

Mrs Pickles - who voted for Mr Corbyn as her second choice in last year's leadership ballot, after Yvette Cooper - said: 'During the Scottish referendum, the criticism from the membership was that we shouldn't have aligned ourselves with the Conservatives and we should've run our own campaign.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on College Green in Westminster. Photo credit should read: Stefan

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on College Green in Westminster. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

'Taking that feedback onboard, Labour ran a separate campaign about the EU referendum which was almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media.

'I've got an enormous amount of respect quite a few of the people who've resigned and I can't say what goes on behind closed doors.

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'However Labour needs to remember he was elected he was elected with a huge mandate. A great many people didn't vote for him but respect democracy.

'I think it's an unnecessary distraction from the current political crisis we're in.

'This is not the time or the place to be having a leadership contest.'

Sonia Barker, leader of the opposition Labour group on Waveney District Council (WDC), said: 'My personal view is that particularly when people feel divided across the country and there is a period of uncertainty, we need to have opposition that's strong and helping to unite the British people.'

Lowestoft mayor Nick Webb, a Labour councillor for Whitton ward on WDC, said: 'I've never been a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and I didn't vote for him as leader.

'I've never felt he's had the charisma or the knowledge of how to win a general election.

'I can understand why these people who have resigned have done what they've done.

'They're all good people and they must have more understanding of the man than I have.

'If they're saying he's not the guy to lead us, then they have to be given some kind of credibility.'

However Mr Webb criticised the infighting within both the Conservatives and Labour, saying: 'We just need to get everyone in a room from the various political parties, lock the door and get them to thrash it out.

'This is about the people in the country.'

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