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Ex Labour MP joins the Green Party

10 May 2024 4 minute read
Former Labour MP Lynn Jones

Martin Shipton

A former Labour MP living in Wales who quit the party last October following Keir Starmer’s support for the “collective punishment” of Palestinians in Gaza has now joined the Greens.

Lynne Jones was the MP for Birmingham Selly Oak from 1992 to 2010. After stepping down from Westminster, she moved with her husband to the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency, where she served as chair of the local Labour Party.

In 2022 she challenged former First Minister Carwyn Jones for the Wales seat on Labour’s National Executive Committee, losing by 3,240 votes (60.3% ) to 2,129 (39.7%).

‘Collective punishment’

In her letter of resignation from the party, Ms Jones said: “The last straw has been Starmer’s explicit support for Israel’s collective punishment of the population of Gaza, despite this being a war crime, a fact of which he should have been fully aware before his interview with LBC.

“When I joined the Labour Party in 1974, we opposed apartheid in South Africa. Now it is not allowed even to mention that Israel is an apartheid state, a view endorsed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and [Israeli human rights organisation] B’Tselem, as well as those with experience of apartheid in South Africa like Desmond Tutu (RIP).

“Since Starmer’s election as leader, under what have clearly been exposed as false pretences, the Labour Party seems to be morphing into an undemocratic, oppressive organisation that stifles free speech. I will not be associated with this.”

In an interview with LBC, Sir Keir said Israel “has the right” to withhold power and water from Palestinian civilians following the terror attacks on Israel by Hamas.

‘Move to the right’

Explaining to Nation.Cymru why she had now joined the Green Party, Ms Jones said: “Quite a lot of people have left Labour because of its move to the right under Starmer and there’s been talk of forming a new party. But I remember how the SDP did very well in the opinion polls when it was formed, deprived Labour of victory in the 1983 general election and then crashed. I don’t think there’s room for a new party on the left.

“Recently I’ve been supporting some former Labour people who are now Independents, including Emma Dent-Coad [the former MP for Kensington] and Jamie Driscoll, who stood to be North East Mayor after being unfairly excluded from the Labour candidate selection. He did very well, considering he had no party organisation behind him, but didn’t win.

“I think Plaid Cymru is a good party, but while my heart tells me to support Welsh independence, my head makes me doubt whether the Welsh economy is strong enough.

“I find 90% of the Green Party’s policies attractive – you can’t expect to agree with absolutely everything. When I was an MP I thought Labour did some good things and some bad things.

“The Green Party has been around for years and is gradually building support. When Jamie Driscoll lost, I came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was to join the Greens. I’m much more comfortable with its vision and policy positions than with what the Labour Party has become. As well as its environmental policies, the Greens stand for affordable housing, a proper social security system that helps people do better and a health service that is properly funded and not privatised.

“Since I joined the Greens last week we’ve seen Keir Starmer welcome Natalie Elphicke, one of the most right wing Tory MPs onto the Labour benches. It’s outrageous that he’s done that while people who have many decades of commitment to the Labour movement like Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn are denied the whip. I think it’s extreme ineptitude on Starmer’s part.

“Last night I attended my first Green branch meeting in Brecon and Radnor. I’m not interested in standing for elected office again but I have a lot of experience in campaigning and want to help the Green Party as much as I can.

I’ve seen Carla Denyer [the Green’s co-leader] speak and have been very impressed. She has a very good chance of winning Bristol Central at the general election. I am much more comfortable in the Green Party than I was with Labour under Starmer.”

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Richard E
Richard E
15 days ago

Wow so many caveats and of course such a long career in Labour before moving from the city to her Welsh retirement choice.

  • sadly she offers little track record
15 days ago

Whatever reasons for leaving Labour, it’s clear that under Starmer Labour welcomes Far Right bigots like Elphicke.

It is not the Party of Nye Bevan.

It’s now UKIP in everything but name.

Voters in Wales would be fools to vote for either of the main Tory parties. Red or Blue, neither bunch of Tories cares about us.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
15 days ago

I congratulate Lynne from leaving the labour party, it has been like it has for many years. It is a party run from the centre. The Green Party is a very principled party and its move towards Welsh independence is very natural and encouraging, it is building an electoral alliance with Plaid Cymru. It is sad that she still believe that the Welsh economy is not strong enough for independence, but I put that down to ‘British’ conditioning. All the revenue from coal and steel was taken by the UK government and wasted, Wales has nothing to show for all… Read more »

15 days ago

“I went to where antisemitism is still cool”

15 days ago

Well done Lynn. Voting Starmer’s Labour is now no different to voting Tory. Let’s try and break the mould by voting against them. The Greens and Plaid offer some hope in offering a genuine alternative to them.

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