Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary under Ed Miliband, has left the shadow cabinet less than 24 hours after left-wing politician Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party.
Umunna, who is a labour MP for Streatham, served as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills since 2011.
In February 2011 Umunna grilled Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond over alleged tax avoidance claims as part of the Treasury Select Committee. During the hearing Diamond admitted that Barclays has paid just £113m in corporation tax in 2009, despite the company making nearly £12bn in profit.
On September 12th Corbyn became the new leader of the Labour Party with more than 250,000 votes (59.5 per cent of the vote) significantly more than the other leadership contenders.
‘Differences in view’
Using social media platform TwitLonger, Ummuna explains his reasons for leaving the shadow cabinet, despite having a ‘good’ conversation with new leader Jeremy Corbyn the day of his appointment.
‘‘Whilst there is much on which Jeremy and I agree, there are a number of key points of difference on policy which I believe it would be dishonest to deny exist. If Jeremy’s clear victory yesterday demonstrated anything, it was a desire for politicians to be true to what they believe – I want to abide by this,’’ stated Ummuna.
‘‘Also, Jeremy should be free to appoint a Shadow Cabinet committed to implementing the policies on which he campaigned in the contest – I clearly had some differences in view on how we build a more equal, democratic, free and fair society.’’
Umunna hinted that the biggest difference of opinion he has with Corbyn was the European referendum, adding that he would find it difficult to abide by the responsibility that would come with serving in Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.
‘‘It is my view that we should support the UK remaining a member of the EU, notwithstanding the outcome of any renegotiation by the Prime Minister, and I cannot envisage any circumstances where I would be campaigning alongside those who would argue for us to leave – Jeremy has made it clear to me that he does not wholeheartedly share this view.’’
Rumours are already circulating that a plan to overthrow Jeremy Corbyn is already being formulated between Labour ministers, but Umunna has distanced himself from those reports, committing himself to unifying the party.
‘‘I meant what I said about the need to unify and come together after the leadership contest, so have no interest in being a thorn in the side of the leadership. One of the tasks the leadership will have to embark on is winning back support from all communities, not least our black and ethnic minority communities.’’
‘‘With that in mind, my Labour Parliamentary colleague Keith Vaz and I will be carrying out an independent review into the Labour Party’s support amongst Britain’s ethnic minority communities which Jeremy has warmly welcomed and has committed to support.’’