Tristram Hunt tells Oxbridge students that 'the top 1 per cent' must take leadership in Labour again

The Blairite MP called for 'dissent' in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader

Jon Stone
Monday 02 November 2015 12:17
Tristram Hunt considered standing for the party leadership himself
Tristram Hunt considered standing for the party leadership himself

Labour-supporting students at one of Britain’s two elite universities have been told by a Blairite MP to lead a campaign of “dissent” in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership victory.

Tristram Hunt, the former shadow education secretary, told students at Cambridge University Labour Club that they were the “top one per cent” and needed to show leadership within the party.

“The way you serve the Corbyn leadership is to be as dissenting and creative as possible,” he told the students, according to the Cambridge University newspaper Varsity.

“You are the top one per cent. The Labour Party is in the shit. It is your job and your responsibility to take leadership going forward.”

The historian, who was himself educated at Cambridge University, ruled himself out from serving in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in the wake of the Labour leadership contest result.

After Ed Miliband stood down as Labour leader Mr Hunt considered standing for the position himself, but decided not to do so.

He reportedly struggled to gain the required 35 nominations from fellow MPs required to stand – a hurdle only just cleared by Mr Corbyn himself.

Mr Hunt told the students that Labour could only help people being “smashed” by the Government’s policies if they were in Government.

The meeting, held in Monday 26 October, was described by the newspaper as “overflowing”. The talk given by Mr Hunt was on the topic ‘Principles, Politics and Pathway to Power’.

He called for a period of intellectual renewal within the party.

The MP has previously described the rise of Mr Corbyn as a marker of the start of “the era of emoji politics, where identity and emotion suffocate debate and rationality”.

He was one of 20 MPs to defy the Labour leadership and refuse to vote against George Osborne's austerity fiscal charter. He also backed interim leader Harriet Harman on the Government's welfare cuts.

Year 5 student asks Tristram Hunt about getting a new leader

Mr Hunt supported Liz Kendall’s failed Labour leadership bid.

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