Labour's left wing 'can't tolerate dissent', Labour MP Chris Leslie claims

He criticised the sacking of shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher

Jon Stone
Tuesday 05 January 2016 14:24
Chris Leslie, a former Labour interim shadow chancellor
Chris Leslie, a former Labour interim shadow chancellor

Labour’s shadow culture secretary was replaced because the party’s left wing “cannot tolerate any dissent”, one of the party’s MPs has claimed.

Chris Leslie, an MP on the Labour party’s right wing and a former interim shadow chancellor, said Michael Dugher was sacked because his views had diverged from the leadership.

“His sin I think was to dare to have different views. Of course, we know that the hard left famously cannot tolerate any dissent,” Mr Leslie told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme.

“We know who the hard left are. Unfortunately there are a lot of people now who are in the ascendency now in the Labour party who associate with the hard left.”

The “hard left” is a pejorative term that refers to the left wing of the Labour party. It is generally thought to include Mr Corbyn and his allies.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had reportedly told Mr Dugher in a phone call that he did not appreciate recent comments the former shadow minister had made about his leadership.

In an article for the New Statesman at the start of the year Mr Dugher had questioned whether Mr Corbyn should replace MPs on the front bench who disagreed with his policy programme.

Jeremy Corbyn is changing his front bench team

Though Mr Dugher said the selection of the shadow cabinet was “entirely a matter for the leader” the article was widely interpreted as a coded warning to Mr Corbyn.

The former shadow culture secretary has also been accused of anonymously briefing journalists against Mr Corbyn.

Mr Leslie is a long-time critic of Mr Corbyn. In August he claimed that the then future Labour leader’s anti-austerity agenda would harm the poorest in society.

The former interim shadow chancellor was one of a number of Labour MPs to argue that Labour was too left wing under Ed Miliband. The MP, who is also a landlord, questioned whether Labour should have pledged to impose rent controls on landlords.

Mr Leslie ruled himself out from serving on Labour's front bench when Mr Corbyn won the leadership of the party by a landslide in September of last year.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments