A LONG-STANDING member of Portsmouth’s Labour Party has quit in light of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory, The News can reveal.
Cllr Ken Ferrett, who serves the city’s Nelson ward and has represented Labour for 21 years, has made the decision due to ‘fundamental political differences’ with the veteran left-wing politician.
In his resignation letter to the Labour Party, Cllr Ferrett said he was ‘horrified’ at the level of abuse dished out to loyal Labour members because they didn’t agree with ‘Corbynmania’.
He wrote: ‘As the recent leadership election progressed, I grew increasingly alarmed at the direction the party had chosen to take, and horrified at the abuse relentlessly meted out to loyal, committed and long-term Labour members who held a contrary view to those enraptured by ‘Corbynmania’. I am not comfortable belonging to a party that now contains so many people capable of such visceral abuse.’
Cllr Ferrett said many voters would disagree with the views of a party leader who has ‘campaigned for drastic cuts to defence spending that would emasculate our armed forces’ and who has ‘campaigned vociferously against our nuclear deterrent and membership of NATO’.
In a statement to The News, Cllr Ferrett added: ‘My decision to resign is not one I have taken lightly, but it is one I knew I would have to consider once Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader given my fundamental opposition to his stated views and beliefs.
He is my brother, we are very close, but he has also been one of the people in Portsmouth who has kept the Labour Party going for the last 10 years.Councillor John Ferrett, Portsmouth Labour group leader
‘My resignation is in no way a reflection or judgement on my former colleagues in the Labour group on Portsmouth City Council, and will continue to hold them in high regard irrespective of whatever personal decisions they come to regarding the future of the Labour Party.’
Cllr Ferrett, a signwriter for BAE Systems, is up for election in May and hasn’t decided whether he’ll stand again, and has chosen to become an independent.
It brings the number of Labour councillors in the city down to three.
KEN FERRETT’S LETTER OF RESIGNATION
It is with sadness that I am writing to inform you that after 21 years of Labour Party
membership, 3 and a half years as Portsmouth CLP Treasurer and three years as a Labour councillor in Portsmouth, I am resigning from the Labour Party with immediate effect.
As the recent leadership election progressed, I grew increasingly alarmed at the direction the party had chosen to take and horrified at the abuse relentlessly meted out to loyal, committed and long-term Labour members who held a contrary view to those enraptured by ‘Corbynmania’.
I am not comfortable belonging to a party that now contains so many people capable of such visceral abuse.
‘Perhaps more importantly, I have irreconcilable differences with many of the new leader’s stated views and beliefs.
‘I believe that, having campaigned regularly for many years, the vast majority of Portsmouth voters will share my opposition to the views of a leader who for decades has campaigned vociferously against our nuclear deterrent and membership of NATO and campaigned for drastic cuts to defence spending that would emasculate our armed forces.
‘I also believe that the people I represent in Portsmouth, both as a councillor and trade union representative, will take a very dim view of a party led by someone who equivocates when asked to condemn the IRA and has proposed that we should effectively surrender the Falkland Islands to Argentina.
‘Furthermore, if Labour are to regain the trust of voters in Portsmouth and elsewhere, the party needs to restore its economic credibility.
‘I am incredulous that the new leader has put this essential task in the hands of John McDonnell MP, someone who has pledged to ‘ferment the overthrow of capitalism’.
The voters of Portsmouth will have my full support when they reject these ideas.
However, being electorally toxic is not the sole reason that I disagree with these views – I just happen to believe they are wrong.
Wrong for the Labour Party, wrong for Portsmouth and wrong for the country.
Therefore, it is my view that having such fundamental disagreements with the direction and stance of the party means that it would be dishonest of me to remain as a member and local representative of the Labour Party.
I absolutely respect the result of the leadership election as representing the democratic will of the members and supporters of the Labour Party and recognise the leader has a significant mandate with which to transform the party.
However, what I cannot and will not respect, is the party and its leadership abdicating their responsibility to present themselves to the British public as a credible alternative government to the Conservatives.
Ultimately, I have faith that the wider electorate will never elect Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister and will continue to show their very British and very dismissive contempt for those who indulge in the fantasy politics of the far-left.
When I joined Labour in 1994, the party recognised that seeking to represent the British public meant compromising with the electorate – that in order to improve people’s lives, create a better society and put our principles in to action, Labour would have to win elections.
By abandoning this approach, for what appears to be a futile lurch leftwards to target non-voters, Labour is abandoning those who desperately need an alternative to eternal Conservative government.
Cllr Ken Ferrett