EXCLUSIVE: ‘Worst part of the job’ is opposition says Mitcham and Morden Labour MP

By Gywn Wright
January 09 2020, 16.17

One of south west London’s MPs yesterday described being in opposition as the worst part of the job.

Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh said it involves ‘seeing people in your constituency that you can’t help’.

She added: ‘’Labour just criticises its own record. Why would people vote for us if we say we are rubbish ourselves?’’

In an exclusive interview with South West Londoner, she said saving St Helier Hospital is her top priority in the next parliament and revealed she is backing Ian Murray for deputy leader.

She said: “What we are going to see is a glorified walk-in centre at St Helier if current plans go ahead.

“Many of my constituents will move to St George’s because it is closer to where they live.

“The last thing St George’s need is more people going there.

“Part of the reason they were rated as requiring improvement by the Care Quality Commission is because they are overwhelmed.

“I have not heard anything from Elliot Colburn (Calshalton and Wallington’s new Conservative MP) on St Helier as of yet.”

She said Mr Murray, the party’s only MP in Scotland, would stand up for the Union rather than offering a ‘pale imitation’ of the SNP.

She said Jess Philips, who she endorsed for the leadership last week, is a ‘breath of fresh air’ who is ‘completely honest and tells you what she thinks’.

She added: “We need a leader who can help us climb back to some sort of trust and that requires honesty and good communication skills. Jess has those skills in bucket-loads.’’

She said of Labour’s poor election performance: “The most important issue was leadership; the second issue was our policies. The third issue was Brexit.’’

Mrs Phillips said Labour should never say never to re-joining the EU in an interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday.

Ms McDonagh said: “What Jess was trying to do was keep an open mind.

“We are leaving. We are fearful of the consequences of that.

“If those fears are born out there may be a situation in which living standards are declining, and people want to talk about going back.’’

Of the other leadership candidates she said: “We will be in a better position than we are currently if Keir Starmer or Emily Thornberry win the leadership.

“Rebecca Long-Bailey is continuity Corbyn and I don’t think we would make one step forward.’’

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