Owen Smith MP considers quitting Labour, despite previously declaring ‘There’s no alternative outside the party’
Member of Parliament Owen Smith has said he is considering quitting the Labour Party, over Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Brexit.
However, in 2016, he told I Am Birmingham he was “Labour to my boots” and “there’s no alternative… outside the Labour Party that can deliver for working people”; agreeing that resigning was “a drastic reaction”.
Following a party leadership debate held in Birmingham in September 2016, the MP for Pontypridd in Wales told journalist Adam Yosef that he would work within the Labour Party for as long as his constituents elected him to Parliament.
At the time, he said:
“I am Labour to my boots, I’ve always been Labour, I’ll always be Labour. For me, there no alternative. There’s not a movement, political or social, outside the Labour party that can deliver for working people
“So we’ve all got work within the Labour Party and I will do that for as long as the people of Pontypridd elect me to Parliament. I’ll absolutely fight for them and fight for my values in Parliament.”
However, on Thursday the anti-Brexit MP told BBC Wales that he would “consider” quitting the Labour party, saying: “I and people who hold my views will have to consider”.
“The truth is that Brexit is not compatible with my values. It is a right-wing ideological project, it is a nativist project, it is fuelled by lies and it was delivered deceitfully in 2016.
“I got elected on a set of values which I think Brexit is incompatible with and I got elected to look after the people I grew up with and represent very proudly in Pontypridd.
“I don’t think Brexit is reconcilable with those values and my desire to look after people in Ponty.”
Smith’s comments come after a handful of Labour politicians criticised Jeremy Corbyn for setting out terms for supporting a Brexit deal, while others within the party have praised the Labour leader for his balanced approach.
Mr Corbyn has recently wrote to the prime minister with five demands, including joining a customs union, that would need to be met for Labour to back the UK government on Brexit. In the letter, Corbyn offers talks to secure “a sensible agreement that can win the support of Parliament and bring the country together”.
In 2016 – when Owen Smith made a failed bid to topple Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader – I Am Birmingham asked him about whether Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillip’s threats to resign the Labour party under Corbyn’s leadership were “drastic”, to which he agreed “it is”.
He added: “I’m clear I’m not resigning from Parliament, I’m determined to be a Labour man for as long as I can be.”