Thursday, June 11, 2009

Statement from Jane Kennedy MP, Labour, Liverpool Wavertree

I wanted to post this a couple of days ago but I could not properly access Jane's website due to some sort of bug in my settings. But I have sorted it out and can now share this with you. I should point out that she retains my full support, in case you were wondering, and I have been warmed by the emails and phone calls of support I have received on her behalf from local people, many of whom had misunderstood the detail of what had happened and thought she was not going to be their MP anymore and were in despair. I was happy to reassure them.

Jane Kennedy was not invited to stay on as a Government Minister in the Prime Minister's re-shuffle, after she was unable to give Gordon Brown an oath of allegiance.

This is the full text of a statement she has issued:

“I was asked to give an assurance that I would support Gordon Brown as our Prime Minister in order for me to stay in the Government as Minister for Farming and the Environment.

With a heavy heart, I felt unable to do that.

I have been unhappy for some time about the leadership of our Party, the style of governing from the centre and our lack of direction. We have made serious errors in policy, such as abolishing the 10p tax rate, the Ghurka’s, Royal Mail privatisation. However, the constant leaks, briefings, bullying and smear campaigns against good Labour colleagues, which have been orchestrated by Number 10, have been of increasing concern.

It is not the way that I want to do politics. The Labour Party should be above these underhand tactics. It is destructive and cynical and goes against all of the Labour values that I hold dear. I have fought against that kind of behaviour all my working and political life, since opposing the Militant Tendency in Liverpool.

I have been listening to my party members and councillors in Liverpool for weeks. Throughout the election campaign, I have talked to senior people in the Liverpool Labour Party, officials and people on the doorstep. They are tremendously unhappy at the drift and consequent decline in our support.

After the terrible election results on Thursday and Sunday, I especially wanted to hear the views of my colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Prime Minister himself before expressing my views publicly as a Minister. That did not prove possible.

I firmly believe that the Labour Party is bigger than just one man. Over the last five days the talk has been consistently of ‘how to save Gordon’ – not, how can the Labour Party change so that we can win the next election and continue to represent the people who really depend on a Labour Government?

Outside Liverpool, voters have deserted us in their droves. We have not been listening to what they have told us. They do not support the Prime Minister and I now see little prospect of the public’s verdict changing.

We owe it to the people we represent and to the Labour Party to make sure we offer them a Leader and a programme for Government that will win back their support.

From the backbenches, I now hope to play my part as a loyal Party member, in rebuilding Labour and ensuring that we listen and learn from the views of ordinary people.

Although I served as Farming Minister for only nine months, I enjoyed that time more than any other in Government. Britain's farmers are undervalued and often mis-represented. I found them to be, without exception, dedicated, skilful people who are absolutely committed to the important work that they do to bring food to our tables. Jamie Oliver was right to demand more support - from Government, supermarkets and consumers like us alike.

I am enormously proud to represent the people of Wavertree and I plan to ask them for their continued support at the next election. We still have a lot of work to do to make life better for them and for millions of other people who need a Labour Government. I will not let them down."

Jane Kennedy, Labour MP

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