It’s Christmas and family comes first – even for MPs

by Kevin Meagher

It’s easy enough to see Jamie Reed’s decision to quit as Member of Parliament for Copeland as an “up yours” to Jeremy Corbyn.

Reed has been a constant – and often humorous – thorn in the Labour Leader’s flesh. His resignation letter, courteous and charitable to Corbyn, should probably be read for what it says, rather than be pored over for coded meaning.

His move to take up a role with his old employer, BNFL, seems an obvious fit given he is born and bred in the area and his family are settled there.

Reed is part of a generation of MPs who are also young dads (Reed is father of four) and miss their kids during the week in Westminster.

He told The Guardian that he was finding it “increasingly difficult” to balance home/work and although the decision to leave Parliament was “the hardest one I’ve ever made” it was “undoubtedly the best thing for me to do for my family.”

Resigning to spend more time with my family is the famously trite excuse for a political resignation, but just occasionally it happens to be true.

Made all the harder by the fact Reed’s West Cumbrian seat is simply miles from anywhere.

Of course ‘picturesque’ does not do the area justice – it is magnificent – but the travel to and fro from Westminster each week must have taken a toll.

As Parliament’s pre-eminent Star Wars aficionado, he will have learned the hard way that you can’t do the Copeland run in twelve parsecs.

I remember driving up from Warrington for a meeting with Jamie when he was first elected in 2005. It took about four hours, with half of it spent negotiating small roads around the Lake District.

I did so much clutch control that I must have worn five years off my knee joints.

Let that be a lesson for his would-be replacements.

The smart move for Labour in a seat with a 2,564 majority would be to pick a local and play that advantage hard.

For those London-types eyeing up the opportunity, just bear in mind that you can get a train to Paris faster than you can to Keswick.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut and author of ‘A United Ireland: Why unification is inevitable and how it will come about’, published by Biteback


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5 Responses to “It’s Christmas and family comes first – even for MPs”

  1. You think Ed Balls shouldn’t throw his hat in the ring then, Kevin?

  2. Alf says:

    This is a real opportunity for UKIP, either to show up any real weakness Labour has – or to be shown up as foolishly presumptuous.

    UKIP wants to build itself up as a threat to Labour in the north of England, arguing that the SNP has destroyed New Labour in Scotland and the Tories have a tight grip on the south.

    We can see, therefore, that the aim is to do the Tories’ job for them and eliminate – as much as possible – the only major left-wing party in the UK.

    Jamie Reed’s constituency gave him a majority of just 2,564 last year, making it a marginal, and vulnerable to takeover by another party.

    Perhaps that is Jamie’s intention. If so, it seems likely to go horribly wrong? Mr Reed was one of the most Tory-lite of the Labour right-wingers and it is possible this is why voter support for him was low.

    Put a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn in his place and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a more substantial majority will vote Labour.

    But then, can you honestly trust the judgement of a man who thinks going to work for the nuclear power industry is a clever career move?

  3. KEVIN MEAGHER says:

    I think Labour’s candidate HAS to be a local.

  4. paul barker says:

    With a local, “Soft Remainer” as a candidate, Labour should hold Copeland easily. UKIP will probably lose vote share, as they did in Sleaford but keep third place. The Libdems will double their vote share but take as many Tory votes as Labour ones.

  5. John P Reid says:

    As for
    Skwalkbox only exists to make the canary not seem like the magazine version of the dailymash, it’s twaddle to say reposting stuff from it has any credibility

    Alfa comments remind me of, the band in the film Spinal tap
    They were playing a festival, commenting on the support band they said, that band were rubbish, the audience booed the band when they left stage,and were still booing them ,during our performance, it reminds me, of, those saying that labour is currently unpopular,not due to Jeremy,but due to Blair being in power 10 years ago

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