Vote of no confidence passed in Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith

Angela Smith, Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, has vowed to battle on despite a no confidence vote by party members.
Angela Smith, Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, has vowed to battle on despite a no confidence vote by party members.
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Labour Party members have passed a motion of no confidence in South Yorkshire MP Angela Smith.

Members voted 27 in favour and 20 against the motion at a meeting of the general management committee of Penistone and Stocksbridge Labour Party last night.

According to the Labour List website, the motion referred to her “Corbyn-scepticism” with disgruntled members having also pointed to the MP’s record on other issues such as fracking, which she supports, and her opposition to water re-nationalisation.

Ms Smith, who campaigned to remain in the European Union, issued a statement via Twitter following the vote in which she blamed “a cabal of hard left members” for pushing for an “inaccurate” motion and that she remains focused on representing her constituents through the country’s biggest political crisis for a generation, amid Brexit turmoil in the Commons.

In her statement, Ms Smith said: “I take my responsibilities as a Member of Parliament very seriously and my first priority is always to do my job, to the best of my ability.

“It is frankly astonishing that a cabal of hard left members has absorbed everyone’s precious time and energy on an inaccurate and divisise motion of no confidence.

“Given that the country is facing its biggest crisis since Suez, one would have thought their attention would be better focused on the huge decision facing the country, a decision that will affect the lives of every one of my constituents for years to come.

“I will continue to prioritise our area and my constituents and will not be distracted by internal political posturing such as this.”

Writing in The Independent earlier this week, Ms Smith was critical of the Labour Party’s leadership claiming it had put up “passive opposition” amid concerns over Prime Minister Theresa May’s stance on Brexit and she called for the final deal between the UK and the EU to be put to a referendum.

A member of Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Ms Smith has been an MP since 2005, initially as MP for Sheffield Hillsborough. She has formerly served as Shadow Minister for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and as Shadow Deputy Leader of the Commons.

Following last night’s no confidence motion, fellow Labour MPs rallied in support of Ms Smith on social media.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh tweeted: “Sorry to see my friend & Yorkshire neighbour and fellow eco champion @angelasmithmp being treated like this.”

While Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham, posted: “The hard right - Boris, Rees-Mogg, Farage & co - are in the midst of an attempt to hijack UK politics and some @UKLabour activists think the priority should be passing votes of no confidence in centre-Left MPs fighting these Brexiters in Parliament. Utterly disgraceful.”

Last month, the Penistone and Stocksbridge Conservative Party announced that software company owner and qualified science teacher Miriam Cates had been selected to stand as its candidate in the next general election.

Ms Cates will campaign to become the first ever Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge.