Not withstanding any differences which Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) may have had with his party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the past, it’s now been confirmed that Doughty has been endorsed as the Labour candidate for the June 8th General Election.
Both he and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones posed together with a Labour poster – and with somewhat strained smiles – to mark the event.
Later Doughty went on Twitter to tell his followers he was delighted to be standing again as the Labour candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth.
Doughty’s re-selection as Labour candidate follows a turbulent period in which he quit the Labour front bench and appeared to criticise the party’s leadership under Jeremy Corbyn – but it appears all is now forgiven. The chronology runs like this:-
May 2015 : In the (first round of ) the Labour leadership elections, Doughty announces he is backing lightweight Liz Kendall for the Labour Leadership rather than Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn wins . Kendall comes bottom-of-the-poll out of a field of four.
January 6th 2016 Doughty is one of three Labour front bench spokesmen who resign in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s much criticised and prolonged “reshuffle” as Labour leader. [Doughty had been – for a very brief period – a shadow foreign affairs spokesperson]. With the collusion of the BBC, he makes his resignation announcement live on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme – one of the few times he’s ever been invited to appear on the programme. Doughty says of Jeremy Corbyn “Unfortunately there is a tendency amongst those around him and in his team to be conducting some pretty unpleasant operations against people who’ve loyally served the party in government and in opposition”. It is seen as an abortive attempt to trigger an avalanche of other resignations . In the event no one follows Doughty.
March 2016: Doughty is officially rated as being “hostile” to the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The revelation comes from a spreadsheet leaked to the Daily Mirror in which party officials have ranked all the Labour MPs in order of their loyalty to Corbyn.
Doughty is classified – according to Wales on Line – as being in the “Core Group Hostile” category .
June 2016:Doughty is listed as being a vice-chair of Labour’s Blairite “Progress Group” – set up as a private company limited by guarantee which takes a prominent role in the campaign to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader. The Progress Group which co-ordinates and synchronised the series of resignations from Labour’s front bench in bid to de-stabilise Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader . They lose. Corbyn stays put.
July 2016: Doughty now backs Angela Eagle for the leadership of the Labour Party in preference to the incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn in Labour’s second leadership contest. A few days later Eagle drops out of the contest.
July 2016: A former rival of Doughty’s – Owen Smith (Labour Pontypridd) – declares his candidacy for the Labour Leadership. [When the Labour Party selected a candidate to fight the vacant Pontypridd seat in the 2010 General Election, Doughty was on the shortlist – but was rejected in favour of Smith.] Now Doughty is listed in the Daily Mirror as being one of the 172 Labour MPs who are nominating Owen Smith for the Labour Leadership. [Smith will turn out to be the third loser in a row whom Doughty has supported.]
July 19th 2016 : Doughty votes with the government in favour of the renewal of Britain’s submarine nuclear deterrent Trident and – in a free vote – does not support Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-nuclear stance. Doughty is said to be a member of the GMB Union [what used to be called the General, Municipal and Boilermaker’s Union] which had already announced that it would “not support the scrapping of Trident” – too many of the GMB members’ jobs depend on Trident.
August 23, 2016: Doughty publicises a statement from the Co-operative Party ‘denying’ that it could become an anti-Corbyn “party-within-a-party” inside Labour.
[Doughty – like his predecessor Alun Michael – is a member of both the Labour Party and the shadowy and largely-unknown Co-operative Party.] The Sunday Times had reported that plans were afoot to increase the size of the Co-operative Party in the House of Commons and make that main opposition party instead of Labour.
September 2016: There are further signs that Doughty is perhaps seeking to restore his fractured relationship with the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. In a
Twitter posting, Doughty appears to be holding out an olive-branch and adjusting his position – publicly praising Corbyn’s performance at Prime Minister’s Questions for what he described as “excellent Qs from Jeremy today”.
Significantly Doughty’s name did not appear on the so-called “deselection list” of 13 Labour MPs who were adjudged by the Corbyn team to have “abused the leader and his allies” even though Doughty had criticised the conduct of Corbyn colleagues on network tv back in January when he had publicly resigned from the Labour front bench.
October 25th 2016: Doughty makes a short contribution to a debate on overseas territories. He praises the Blair and Brown Labour Government’s construction of the £202,000,000 St Helena Airport . Doughty tells MPs “we have been able to move ahead with building an airport in St Helena”. He fails to mention that the St Helena Airport has been found to be too dangerous to use for scheduled commercial passenger flights . Afterwards he claims he had been speaking “ironically”.
February 2017: Doughty defies party leader Corbyn – and a substantial proportion of his own constituents – and votes against the Brexit Bill which triggers Article 50 to commence the process of leaving the European Union.
Doughty trumpets his stand against what he called “a reckless hard Brexit” on Twitter – but then runs into a fusilade of tweets from Labour Party members – some supporting him, but many criticising his position.
One Twitter poster – Maria G – tells Doughty he has “no right to overturn the referendum” and called his stance “a shameful abuse of power ” – but Doughty claims he is “voting in accordance with his constituents”.
April 20th 2012 : Doughty is endorsed as the Labour candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth for the General Election on June 8th.