Labour MP says he won’t sign ‘ridiculous’ loyalty pledge

A Scottish Labour MP has insisted he will not sign a “loyalty pledge” to the party’s leader.

Ian Murray said instead of trying to get politicians to back the commitment to “work for the achievement of a Labour led Government under whatever leadership members elect”, the party’s leadership should be focused on trying to resolve the current Brexit stalemate.

The UK is due to formally leave the European Union next month, yet Prime Minister Theresa May has been unable to secure a parliamentary majority for her withdrawal deal.

Meanwhile, some Remain supporting Labour MPs, including Mr Murray, continue to push for a fresh Brexit referendum to be held.

A number of Labour MPs, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, have tweeted the pledge, which states: “I pledge to work for the achievement of a Labour led Government under whatever leadership members elect. And I accept a Labour led government is infinitely better than any other election outcome.”

It comes amid speculation that dissatisfaction with Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit could result in some MPs quitting the party.

Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley retweeted the pledge with the comment: “Well, of course! A Labour Government, changing lives for the better is what we are here for.”

Meanwhile, Glasgow North MP Paul Sweeney said: “I fully agree.”

But Mr Murray, the MP for Edinburgh South and former shadow Scottish secretary, described the pledge as being a “little bit ridiculous”.

The MP, who quit Labour’s front bench team after Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader, told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme his loyalty to the party “should never be in question”.

He stated: “My pledge is every single weekend when I am out knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, staffing street stalls and doing my advice sessions with my constituents, that is my pledge to the Labour Party.

“I think these kind of pledge things are a little bit ridiculous, in my view.

“I won’t be signing it for a number of reasons, firstly because I think it is unnecessary and secondly it asks for a Labour led government – I think we need a Labour majority government.”

Mr Murray, the only Scottish Labour MP to hold on to his constituency when the SNP won all but three seats north of the border in the 2015 Westminster election, added: “I just don’t think we should be signing these pledges, we should be getting on with the task of trying to resolve this Brexit issue, which is number one on the agenda at the moment.”