Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman claims Labour frontbenchers would resign over election pledge

Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman. Photo: JPI Media
Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman. Photo: JPI Media
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A Yorkshire MP has claimed his party leader was persuaded to override colleagues who were opposed to a general election by senior aides.

Veteran MP Barry Sheerman, who represents Huddersfield for Labour, said a “clear majority” of his party’s Shadow Cabinet had opposed a General Election at a meeting yesterday [Monday].

But he said: “Jeremy Corbyn has been persuaded to override them after interventions from Seamus Milne and Karie Murphy.”

Mr Milne is Mr Corbyn’s Director of Strategy and Communications, while Ms Murphy is his Chief of Staff.

But a Labour source pointed towards Labour’s Shadow Cabinet who stood behind Mr Corbyn and clapped and cheered as he made the announcement this morning that he would back a December poll.

Mr Corbyn told his top team this morning: "I have consistently said that we are ready for an election and our support is subject to a no-deal Brexit being off the table.

"We have now heard from the EU that the extension of Article 50 to January 31 has been confirmed, so for the next three months, our condition of taking no-deal off the table has now been met.

"We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen."

But Mr Sheerman said it was “sheer madness to hold a General Election in December and on Boris Johnson’s agenda”.

He added he had heard Labour frontbenchers and whips were looking to resign over the decision.

He told Sky News: "The first person I bumped into as I came into the Palace of Westminster this morning said he was resigning as a whip.

"I'm picking up that there's deep discontent on the frontbench and in the whips office.”

But some of Mr Sheerman’s fellow Yorkshire Labour MPs were of a different view.

Leeds East MP Richard Burgon said: “The General Election is our chance to kick the Tories out by Christmas and build a society for the many, not the few.”

While Thelma Walker, for Colne Valley, added: “Now that no deal isn't a risk, we are ready to bring forward an agenda that protects the vulnerable, supports our working men and women and rebuilds Britain.”