Holborn and St Pancras MP becomes latest to quit shadow role and call for new Labour Party leader
PUBLISHED: 15:40 27 June 2016 | UPDATED: 15:42 28 June 2016
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Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer has become the latest politician to quit his shadow ministerial role in a mass exodus from Jeremy Corbyn's team.
This afternoon, Mr Starmer announced he has quit as shadow Home Office minister, following a string of other Labour MPs who have deserted the shadow cabinet in the post-Brexit fall-out.
Mr Starmer told the Ham&High that he had given the matter a lot of thought, but felt that in the wake of the Referendum result, he could no longer serve under Mr Corbyn.
He said: “The EU Referendum was catastrophic and will affect many, many generations to come and the fight now is to secure absolutely the best future we can in the circumstances.”
In his letter to Mr Corbyn, Mr Starmer wrote: “I have never spoken out publicly against you and I do not intend to now.
“However, the EU Referendum result was catastrophic for the UK, for our communities and for the next generation.”
“In the last few days I have maintained my support for you, notwithstanding my reservations.
“However, the resignations across the Shadow Cabinet and the Shadow Front bench yesterday and today materially change this.
“It is simply untenable now to suggest that we can offer an effective opposition without a change of leader.
“In the circumstances, I am duty bound to resign.”
Former Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Starmer backed Andy Burnham in last year’s leadership contest, but said he had no hesitation serving in Mr Corbyn’s team as he recognised the huge mandate he was given by party members.
His resignation letter was published to his Twitter account this afternoon, as MPs returned to the Commons to hear Prime Minister David Cameron outline the next steps following Friday’s Referendum result.
Mr Corbyn has come under fire for having appeared to be half-hearted in his campaign to put the case for remaining in the EU to Labour Party voters - but he rejects this charge.
Mr Corbyn told the Ham&High on the day of the Referendum that he had “done everything he could” to stress the benefits of staying in the EU - but that the media had chosen not to report many of his visits to workplaces and universities.
In spite of his seriously depleted shadow team, the Labour leader has indicated that he will not fall on his sword, and will stand against any challengers to his leadership.
Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq - who is not in the shadow cabinet - said that blame for the Referendum result should be placed squarely with the government and not with Mr Corbyn.
She tweeted yesterday: “Responsibility for Brexit lies with a negligent government, not Jeremy Corbyn. Now is the time for Labour to unite and speak to the public.”
Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West, who has known Mr Corbyn for years, remains in her role as shadow foreign office minister in spite of the domino effect of resignations.