What a horrible week! The tsunami unleashed by the Brexit vote has ruptured the UK's political world. The Prime Minister, just a year after achieving an historic victory, is now in his final few weeks of office. Boris Johnson, the favourite to succeed him has imploded, running away from his responsibility for the economic upheaval and security crisis that the Leave vote he encouraged has precipitated.
The country needs strong opposition to ensure that people's interests are protected in these turbulent times. Instead we, the Labour Party, are falling apart. We have a Leader who has lost the support of Labour MPs and Labour voters but still has significant support amongst Labour members. And therein lies the pickle! I went to see Jeremy first thing Monday morning to give him my support and my advice. I have loyally served him and defended him from the attacks of others. But I have been frustrated by how poorly he has managed people and processes, necessary leadership skills. I told him he had done a great job in shaking up the party - something that was needed. He'd brought good people on in an inclusive Shadow Cabinet. He stood at a crossroads. He could either step down gracefully and pass the baton on to someone else who could take the Party forward to a General Election. Or he could come to the PLP meeting and set our a clear vision and strategy for taking the Party forward himself and winning at the next election. Sadly he did neither. Worse still the PLP agreed to consider a vote of confidence in him by secret ballot the next day. Knowing I no longer had confidence in him I felt I had no choice but to resign my position from the Front Bench. Something I did with great sadness. I really wanted Jeremy to succeed but after working with him closely for many months I have come to the conclusion, despite having some excellent qualities, he doesn't have the necessary leadership skills to take Labour forward.
In other news I chaired a very good meeting of the Pancreatic Cancer All Party Parliamentary Group and joined local campaigners for the Women Against State Pension Injustice rally outside parliament. Back in Scunthorpe I was delighted to visit St Bede's School and learn more about the approaches they are using for improving diagnostic assessment and targetting students so that they achieve their potential. The school had a very happy feel to it. The best thing of the week was joining children, staff and friends of Oasis Academy Henderson Avenue for their official opening. It was a joyous, brilliant occasion and reminded me of what's really important in life.