Tulip Siddiq nominated Jeremy Corbyn last summer
Published: 25 August, 2016
By RICHARD OSLEY
HAMPSTEAD and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq is set to side with Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest.
Speculation had been mounting over how Ms Siddiq, elected to the House of Commons for the first time in May last year, would vote after party members in her constituency nominated Jeremy Corbyn to be retained.
She has previously been applauded by Mr Corbyn’s supporters for refusing to join those blaming him for the EU referendum result in June in which the United Kingdom voted for Brexit, and for calling for unity behind whoever wins the two-man contest next month.
But, as voting papers were handed out for the second Labour leadership contest in as many summers, Ms Siddiq said: “I am leaning towards Owen Smith. I just worry Jeremy doesn’t have the confidence of the parliamentary Labour party anymore, and if you don’t have the confidence then you can’t form a proper shadow cabinet.”
She added: “The truth is, if you can’t command a parliamentary mandate, then something needs to be done. I’ll be honest and say I actually nominated Angela Eagle. I’m at that point now that, whether Jeremy or Owen wins, I’ll unite behind them – but the person I really wanted was Angela.”
Ms Siddiq is often reminded that, although she supported Andy Burnham last summer, she was one of the MPs who gave Mr Corbyn her parliamentary nomination – a move which helped make his eventual victory possible. Some of Mr Corbyn’s critics say this may even have set up the prospect of her own electoral defeat if the Labour leader proved unpopular enough at a general election for the Tories to target victory in Ms Siddiq’s Hampstead and Kilburn patch, a territory they have not held since 1992.
Speaking on Radio 4’s World At One, Ms Siddiq said she still had no regrets about her decision, adding: “What we needed to do was broaden the debate at the time.”
Fellow Camden MP Keir Starmer is backing Mr Smith, also at odds with the CLP in Holborn and St Pancras which nominated Mr Corbyn earlier this month.
Meanwhile, thousands of Mr Corbyn’s supporters gathered at the old Gaumont State Cinema building in Kilburn High Road on Sunday evening for a rally behind the Labour leader – one of four large rallies to be held in and around Camden in as many weeks. Kilburn councillor Thomas Gardiner was among the speakers, as was Islington councillor Claudia Webbe. There were boos when she referenced London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to back Mr Smith.
Ms Webbe described Mr Corbyn’s ascent as a “political revolution”, adding: “We need to challenge the rigged system that works for the few and not the many.
“We must break down the power system that protects inequality, creates injustice and the widening gap between the rich and the poor.”