Just two days after Pat Glass was appointed as Jeremy Corbyn’s new shadow Education Secretary, she released a statement announcing her resignation.
Glass described the current situation within the Labour party as “untenable.” She announced on Twitter that “it is with a heavy heart that I have today resigned as Shadow SoS Education. My dream job, but the situation is untenable.”
Glass, the former LEA advisor, was promoted to replace Lucy Powell as the shadow cabinet’s Education Secretary last Monday. In leaving the post, Powell had employed similar language to describe Corbyn, referring to his leadership as “untenable” as well. Glass becomes the first member of Corbyn’s newest wave of appointments to step down.
The Labour leader lost a vote of no confidence among the Parliamentary Labour Party on Tuesday by 172 votes to 40. Still, as reported by Adam Withnall of Independent, Corbyn has avowed to continue on as leader regardless, saying that he did not want to betray the 60% of Labour voters who voted him in nine months ago.
Two minutes after Glass’s resignation, Emma Lewell Buck, the shadow communities minister, said she was “heartbroken” at the way the Labour Party has fallen apart and announced her resignation. These resignations have prolonged the political crisis that has battered the Labour Party in the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union. According to The Mirror, more than 50 MPs have quit Corbyn’s shadow cabinet after the referendum. Many of them expressed frustration about Corbyn’s lackluster effort to keep Britain in the European Union.
Pat Glass was the Labour MP for North West Durham, and her constituency includes Consett and Lanchester. She was first elected in the 2010 general election, and she won a majority of votes with 7,612 and five years later was re-elected in May 2015 with an increased majority of 10,019 votes. Before becoming an MP, as detailed in the Chronicle Live, Glass had a long career in education.
She has worked in various positions with local education authorities, including a stint as a government education advisor. She specialized in special needs education, working closely with children with disabilities. Before coming to Parliament, Glass served as an advisor to the government on education affairs and worked with councils across Yorkshire and Humber region to improve their education services. In 2007, Glass was also elected as a councilor on Lancaster Parish Council.
Glass says that death threats made against her and her family have convinced her not to run for reelection. Glass forcefully supported Britain staying in the European Union, but admitted the past six months campaigning for the “remain” side had been “very difficult.” She blames the “incredibly divisive” referendum campaign for her decision not to run for reelection. Glass did not attend a referendum count on the advice of the police, who cited safety concerns if she were to participate.
In her letter announcing she would not seek reelection, Glass said: “Following our discussion today I am formally giving you notice that I do not intend to be Labour’s candidate in the next general election. Given the election could come as soon as October 2016 I want to give the CLP (Constituency Labour Party) as much time as possible to get a new candidate in place to fight the election… While I had always intended to do more than two terms in Parliament I have found the last six months very, very difficult. The referendum has been incredibly divisive, it divided families and communities and I have found it bruising in many respects. It has had an impact on both me and my family as I am sure it has had on many others.”