The unusual suspect

The Daily has reported previously how Blair is now provoking rebellion far beyond the “usual suspects” in the Parliamentary Labour Party, but today’s New Statesman article by Burnley MP Kitty Ussher suggests that discontent has reached an unprecedented level.

Not only does she surprisingly come out against the Iraq war (though she was not an MP at the time) but she has this to say of the Lebanon situation: “there are no plausible reasons not to call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon … the only conclusion any right-minded person can draw by simply looking at the facts is that the Prime Minister thought it was OK for Muslim people to keep dying.”

This would be a tough and provocative statement from a MP on Labour’s hard left, but Kitty Ussher is not only in the mainstream of the PLP, she has until now been considered ultra loyal – she has never rebelled on a whipped vote.

In fact, she previously courted controversy with an infamous article in the Guardian saying that MPs who opposed 90-day detention for terrorist suspects would have “blood on their hands” if there was a subsequent terrorist attack.

She was not even one the 101 Labour MPs who signed the Compass letter asking for a recall of Parliament, perhaps because no-one could imagine that she might agree.

If Blair cannot even rely on MPs like Kitty Ussher to support him, he may be in even more trouble than he realised.


4 Responses to The unusual suspect

  1. A quick postscript to this – Britain’s top Parliament geeks at note that Jim Sheridan MP, the Defence PPS who resigned over the current Middle East situation, is not a complete loyalist, having rebelled twice before.

    It should be noted, however, that the two rebellions were against the introduction of Proportional Representation (for local elections in Scotland) and the downgrading of cannabis to Class C.

    While neither of these are exactly right-wing positions, they certainly don’t suggest particularly left-wing inclinations either – more like a representative of the traditional union-based moderate wing of the party.

    The actions of both Sheridan and Ussher suggest that discontent on this is reaching parts of the PLP that previous rebellions have not.

  2. Yes, Oona King’s got a storming piece in The Observer today. I obviously haven’t read it but from headline, I got the impression she might be pissed off too.

  3. Link to Oona King Observer article here:,,1843526,00.html

    There is also now an interesting analysis of the 101 signatories to Jon Trickett’s letter over at – there are certainly a few surprising names.

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