UK Politics

Labour MP quits party review group over leadership disagreement

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Media captionAlison McGovern said she had been "backed into a corner"

The chairwoman of a Labour pressure group has resigned from a party policy review group because she feels it is impossible to work with the leadership.

Alison McGovern told the BBC the shadow chancellor had suggested the group she chairs, Progress, co-ordinated the resignation of three shadow ministers.

John McDonnell also accused Progress of having a "hard-right agenda", Ms McGovern said.

Labour said the review she said she was quitting had not yet been launched.

'Backed into corner'

Ms McGovern's resignation comes after junior shadow ministers Jonathan Reynolds, Stephen Doughty, and Kevan Jones quit on Wednesday in protest at Labour's reshuffle this week.

The resignation of Mr Doughty on BBC Two's Daily Politics led to an official complaint from Labour, who accused the BBC of orchestrating the resignation for maximum "political impact" - something the BBC denies.

Ms McGovern, the Wirral South MP, said Mr McDonnell had asked her to take part in the Labour's policy review on child poverty and combating inequality.

Image caption John McDonnell said the shadow ministers who resigned came from a "narrow right wing clique within the Labour party"

The pair were due to meet for the second time to discuss the subject on Wednesday, but Ms McGovern claims Mr McDonnell was late because he was making media appearances.

She told BBC's Sunday Politics: "So I'm there waiting to meet him to talk about it and all the while he'd gone to the TV studio to call the organisation that I am chair of 'hard-right Conservative', of having a hard-right Conservative agenda. That's not OK."

"We are all Labour members and we believe in having a Labour government - that's what we are, nothing more nothing less.

"And, as I say, I don't want to be on the telly talking about this but I have been backed into a corner and I have got no other choice now but to stand up and say 'this is who we are' and we should just get on with the business of getting a Labour government."

Progress is broadly seen as the Blairite wing of the party.

On Wednesday Mr McDonnell told BBC Radio Two's Jeremy Vine programme: "We've had a few junior members resign today and of course that's their right.

"But they do all come from a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the organisation Progress.

"I don't believe they have ever accepted Jeremy's mandate."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "Alison McGovern was invited to a discussion on child poverty but the initiative has not been launched or confirmed.

"She is resigning from something that doesn't exist."

Sunday Politics is on BBC One on Sunday at 11:00 GMT.

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