Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has written to local Labour Party members outlining why she is urging Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader.
In an email to constituency Labour Party members, Ms Reeves says she is a ‘Labour loyalist’ and acknowledges the support Mr Corbyn has from some party members.
But she warns that the party is ‘likely to suffer devastating losses in a general election’ unless there is a change of leadership.
Her email, seen by The Dispatch, comes despite Labour branches in Armley, Bramley and Kirkstall recently passing motions to support Mr Corbyn.
In the email, Ms Reeves says:
“Jeremy was elected by members last September, and while I know that many members believe he is doing a good job, in the last week I have received many messages from people in the party and outside saying that he has failed to provide the leadership required particularly, but not just, on the referendum campaign.
“Many of those who have contacted me saying that he should go are those who previously supported him.
“Whatever your views on Jeremy’s politics – his lack of enthusiasm for the Labour Remain campaign or his leadership qualities – it is now clear that he can’t lead the party in to the general election without big losses for us and the election is now likely to happen this year.
“That is why I voted for the no confidence motion last Monday and why I urge Jeremy to resign as party leader.
“Without being able to form a front bench or take his colleagues in parliament with him he is in an untenable position. And for those who work with him most closely to resign following the sacking of Hilary Benn shows he has lost the confidence of those who know him best.
“For me it is the nearness of the next election that is most pressing. An incoming Tory leader is likely to seek a new mandate and so time is not on our side to get ourselves in order, but it is also clear that Jeremy’s politics don’t resonate with nearly enough voters and even fewer see him as a Prime Minister.
“At the moment we are not even providing an effective opposition let alone looking like a government in waiting. If we do not make big changes Labour is likely to suffer devastating losses in a general election.”
Ms Reeves, who last year stepped down as shadow work and pensions secretary, said Mr Corbyn had ‘worked well to make the Labour Party more radical’. But she added:
“I haven’t been on the TV or radio, or written newspaper articles, I don’t want to attack Jeremy personally and I don’t want the party to split or fracture.
“I know that Jeremy won a mandate and I believe he has worked well to make the Labour Party more radical, ambitious and democratic – things we must preserve in the future.
“I have voted with the Labour whip throughout Jeremy’s leadership (including voting against air strikes in Syria) and I am a Labour loyalist.
“We all love our party and want to see it win again and transform people’s lives. But it is the sad reality that Jeremy is now a block on taking Labour forward and that’s why I believe he must go.
“If he does he will be remembered as a leader who shook up the Labour Party, brought in new supporters and made us be bolder and more ambitious. We must learn from Jeremy’s leadership, passion and honesty. But now, for the sake of our party and country he should stand down.”
MP Angela Eagle this weekend launched her bid to become party leader.
Last September Rachel Reeves wrote to party members pledging her full support to Mr Corbyn and deputy Tom Watson.
Ms Reeves declined to comment when contacted by The Dispatch.