Labour MP who lost her seat in the 2019 defeat lines up to take on Jeremy Corbyn in his London stronghold Islington North – and end his career
A high-profile Labour woman who lost her seat ‘thanks to Jeremy Corbyn‘ should be the candidate to end his Commons career, it was suggested last night.
Party insiders say that one of several female MPs who lost in the disastrous 2019 election would be Labour’s best choice to stand against the former leader in his North London stronghold, Islington North.
Mr Corbyn is currently barred from standing as the Labour candidate in the next General Election because of a bitter antisemitism row with Sir Keir Starmer.
Corbyn supporters want him to stand as an independent, sparking fears among Labour moderates that he could win in a seat he has held since 1983 and where he has a thumping 26,188 majority.
But the moderates are looking to Corbyn critics who crashed to defeat ‘thanks to Jeremy’ to take revenge by standing as the official Labour candidate.
The Mail on Sunday understands that they include former Islington councillor Mary Creagh, who angrily confronted Mr Corbyn shortly after she lost her Wakefield seat as part of the Tories’ conquest of Labour’s Red Wall.
Ms Creagh was filmed challenging the then leader in Portcullis House at Westminster after seeing him pose for photographers with young people as she was clearing out her office.
The Mail on Sunday understands that they include former Islington councillor Mary Creagh (pictured), who angrily confronted Mr Corbyn shortly after she lost her Wakefield seat as part of the Tories’ conquest of Labour’s Red Wall
She said later that she ‘couldn’t understand why he was posing for photos when in my view he should be apologising’ over the election defeat and its consequences.
Ms Creagh told the BBC: ‘I wondered why he was smiling and joking when I was in the House of Commons making my staff redundant before Christmas.’
She added: ‘It was his leadership and his failure to tackle antisemitism [and] bullying in our party that led to this defeat.’
She also said that she had demanded to know why she had faced the threat of deselection in her Wakefield seat even as the general election campaign was getting under way.
Sources say that fellow Corbyn critic Ruth Smeeth, who lost her Stoke-on-Trent North seat, has also been named as a potential candidate. On election night, Ms Smeeth branded Mr Corbyn a ‘disgrace’ who was not fit to lead any party and should ‘spend more time on his allotment’.
She also claimed that the then leader had been ‘at best a bystander’ to antisemitism and ‘at worst culpable and directly involved’.
Allies of Mr Corbyn hit back last night to defend the former leader and insist he had been treated ‘disgracefully’ by his successor Sir Keir and his team.
Allies of Mr Corbyn hit back last night to defend the former leader and insist he had been treated ‘disgracefully’ by his successor Sir Keir and his team
They also said Mr Corbyn, 72, had ‘a very good chance’ of winning if he stood as an independent – not least because Left-wing allies would flock to support his campaign.
However, other Labour sources confidently predicted Mr Corbyn would lose in Islington North, pointing out that although he has friends in senior posts in the local party, Left-wingers were in the minority.
Mr Corbyn, who currently sits as an independent MP, was stripped of his Labour membership and the party Whip after saying that antisemitism in the party had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ after an equalities watchdog report looking into the issue under his leadership.
He was later reinstated as a party member after clarifying that antisemitism concerns were not ‘overstated’ but he was not given back the Whip.
Asked if she intended to apply for the Labour nomination in Islington North, Ms Creagh said she had ‘no plans to stand as an MP’.
Friends of Ms Smeeth said she had suffered vicious attacks from far-Left activists over criticising Mr Corbyn’s failure on antisemitism and that she would be reluctant to put herself into a new confrontation with his supporters.
Mr Corbyn was approached for comment.