On Friday 16 August, the General Committee of Penistone and Stocksbridge CLP, on the outskirts of Sheffield, voted 27-20 for a motion of no confidence in its MP, Angela Smith – the text of which is below (thanks to the CLP activists who sent it to us).
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Smith has denounced the majority of her CLP as a “cabal of hard left members”. All the reports published so far are saturated with fellow right-wing MPs ‘defending’ Smith – naturally with no reference to the political issues involved – but do not include the motion the GC actually passed, so it is important that this is shared as widely as possible.
The motion speaks for itself, but just to note, in terms of the claim that this was raised irresponsibly in the midst of the crisis over Brexit – in addition to the fact that Brexit does not give Corbyn-hating MPs a free pass, the motion was submitted by a branch at the beginning of October.
This CLP notes that:
1. Angela Smith has represented this CLP since it was created in 2010. Before that she was MP for Sheffield Hillsborough from 2005 to 2010. (1)
2. In 2015 Angela Smith voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes. (2)
3. Angela said earlier this month at a water industry conference in Manchester that Labour’s plans for the return to public ownership of the privatised water industry were “undeveloped, uncosted and should not be a priority among so many post-Brexit challenges”. She denounced the proposals, promoted by John McDonnell, as ideological and founded in “the politics of the past”. (3)
4. Angela Smith has written in the press articles that undermine the leadership and the wider Party. (4)
5. Angela Smith tweets and retweets criticism of Jeremy Corbyn. (5)
6. Angela Smith was invited to the Annual Dinner in February. However, she advised the organisers that she would not be attending the Annual Dinner, but she would in fact be attending another event that was being held at the same venue, Wortley Hall.
This CLP believes that:
• Angela Smith has by her conduct, her actions, and in articles she has written demonstrated that she no longer represents the views of the CLP.
• She has been a persistent and visceral critic of Jeremy Corbyn and through her divisive attacks on him she has damaged the Labour Party locally and nationally.
• Her articles and comments on Fracking and Privatised Water Companies that are contrary to the Labour Party Manifesto commitments demonstrate that she has lost touch with the Party and the constituents she was elected to represent.
• She has snubbed this CLP very publicly at an event to raise funds for her election campaign.
• The relationship of trust and respect that is an essential and fundamental requirement between an MP and their Constituency Party has broken down, perhaps irrevocably, and as a result this CLP has no confidence in Angela Smith to represents its members as our MP.
This CLP resolves to:
1. Propose a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Angela Smith at the CLP General Meeting on 16 November 2018.
2. Write to the Chief Whip and ask that she has the whip removed.
Appendix [also written by proposers of motion]:
1. Angela Christine Smith (born 16 August 1961) is a British Labour Party politician and former lecturer. She has represented the parliamentary seat of Penistone and Stocksbridge since 2010. Before boundary changes she was Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Hillsborough from 2005 to 2010.
2. Angela Smith voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of oustanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes. A majority of MPs disagreed and voted for greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of oustanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes. 296 for, 259 against, 0 abstained, 91 absent.
3. ‘Labour MP savages party’s water policy’, The Times, 17 April 2018
4. ”Car crash’ Jeremy Corbyn under pressure over foreign trips’, Daily Express, 20 August 2018
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I was very pleased to learn of the vote of no confidence in Angela Smith MP. By being vigorously in favour of fracking, to the detriment of her constituency, she risks losing this labour seat at the next general election in much the same way as Natasha Engel, former labour MP for North Derbyshire who was recently handed a new position as shale gas commissioner by Conservative MP Claire Perry. Far better for Angela to go now.
Obviously we support the no confidence vote, and on the specific point about fracking Angela Smith is indeed generally in favour. She opposes a ban. However it seems there has been a misunderstanding about the parliamentary vote cited. In that vote virtually the entire PLP – and Caroline Lucas – voted against and the Tories for, because it amounted to a vote to allow fracking in those environments under the cover of a limitation on it. The content of the accusation is right, but the specifics garbled.
Unless we’ve misunderstood.