Exclusive: Labour MP Rachel Reeves reveals grudging respect for Theresa May while backing Yvette Cooper to lead Opposition

Labour MP Rachel Reeves has revealed a grudging respect for Theresa May.
Labour MP Rachel Reeves has revealed a grudging respect for Theresa May.
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LEADING Labour MP Rachel Reeves has spoken about her grudging respect for Theresa May – and the upheavals created by Brexiteers like Boris Johnson, David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

“When you think of some of the people she has to put up with in the Tory party, and who want to lead it, it could be an awful lot worse,” said the Leeds West MP. “I have got respect for her and what she is doing, but I disagree fundamentally with the Brexit deal she has secured.”

Ms Reeves was speaking at an event at Waterstones in the city to promote her new book Women At Westminster.

She also revealed that she would be willing to serve in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

She was Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary under Ed Miliband before standing down from the role shortly after the 2015 election. “I would serve under him (Corbyn) if he asked,” she said in response to a question about the loyalty of moderate Labour MPs who are not serving on the Opposition front bench.

However she stressed her current role as chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee was “a big job in politics” which had become even more important as a result of Parliament’s deadlock over Brexit.

“Select committees are a big position to have, with more powers, than they have had in the past,” said Ms Reeves who went on to signal her intention to support Yvette Cooper if her fellow West Yorkshire MP chose to contest Labour’s next leadership contest.

However Ms Reeves said she was fearful that very capable women would be deterred from pursuing political careers because of the current levels of abuse.

“I do worry this abuse, and the poisoning of the political debate we have seen, does risk deterring women from putting themselves forward,” she added.