Shadow defence minister Khalid Mahmood has resigned from Labour’s front bench claiming the party has been captured by ‘a London-based bourgeoisie’ and ‘woke social media warriors’.
The Labour politician has been Birmingham Perry Barr an MP continuously since 2001. He stepped down on April 13 but tweeted about his departure today.
Mahmood’s comments follow as Labour lost the Hartlepool byelection – with a Conservative MP being elected in the former Labour stronghold for the first time in 62 years.
In an article for Policy Exchange, Mahmood said the loudest voices in the Labour movement over the past year “have more in common with those of Californian high society than the kind of people who voted in Hartlepool yesterday.”
“A London-based bourgeoisie, with the support of brigades of woke social media warriors, has effectively captured the party.
“The loudest voices in the Labour movement over the past year in particular have focused more on pulling down Churchill’s statue than they have on helping people pull themselves up in the world.
“No wonder it is doing better among rich urban liberals and young university graduates than it is amongst the most important part of its traditional electoral coalition, the working-class.
“People on the ground, far from the elite and academic discussions in the capital, want the basic things done right. They want job security themselves – not zero hours contracts – and for their children and grandchildren to have a bright future.
“It is only by engagement on a local level, meeting eye to eye with voters and hearing their concerns, that we will fix that. I will be doing so not from the Labour front bench, but walking the streets of my constituency as a backbencher and talking face to face with the people I have the honour to serve.”
Speaking this afternoon, Labour leader Keir Starmer told Sky News that he is ‘bitterly disappointed in the result’ and said he takes ‘full responsibility’.
Starmer said: “We have changed as a party, but we haven’t set out a strong enough case for the country.
“Very often we’ve been talking to ourselves instead of to the country and we’ve lost the trust of working people particularly in places like Hartlepool. I intend to do whatever is necessary to fix that.”