Former Labour MP Tom Levitt quits party over ‘incompetent and hypocritical leadership'

Former High Peak MP Tom Levitt
Former High Peak MP Tom Levitt

A former High Peak Labour MP has announced he is quitting the party - blaming its ‘incompetent and hypocritical’ leadership.

Tom Levitt, who was High Peak MP from 1997-2010, has declared his support for Pro-EU party Change UK - saying he will assist them with the selection of candidates for the forthcoming European elections.

He wrote in a tweet last week how the Labour leadership was ‘profoundly wrong on key issues such as the idea that a ‘better Brexit’ is available.’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been heavily criticised for not committing to a second referendum over Brexit - with many saying it could lead to voters deserting the party.

Change UK - which began as The Independent Group of MPs who defected from both Labour and the Conservatives - tabled an amendment in the in the House of Commons in February calling for the government to prepare for a second EU referendum.

Sixty-five-year-old Tom, who now lives in London and runs consultancy firm Sector4Focus, wrote: “Our politics is broken and Labour is as much to blame as the Tories.”

Speaking to the Advertiser about his Tweet on Monday Tom said: “Fifty years after I joined the Labour Party I’ve decided with great sadness to leave it.

“Labour has been the biggest source of progress in Britain throughout my lifetime and I hope that one day it will be again - but over the last three years under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn it has been led astray.

“I believe that Mr Corbyn - who I have known personally for over 30 years - is not fit to be Prime Minister and I cannot in all honesty endorse his leadership.

“I see no prospect of the party changing its leader any time soon.

“Others who think like me have created Change UK and I support their clear and unambiguous stance for a People’s Vote and the chance to reject Brexit.”

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.

Tom said he had ‘no quarrel’ with High Peak Labour councillors.

He added: “Labour councillors throughout the country do a great job but they are not well-served by their party’s current leadership.”

Fiona Sloman, chair of Labour High Peak, said the party was sorry Tom had gone.

She added: “He was a good MP representing his constituents and a number of us are staying within the party because we believe it’s best for the majority of people rather than an elite few.

“Tom told me he had been thinking about this for ages but we were a bit disappointed that he did it when we were fighting a local election.”