U.K. Labour Party Resignation Letters: The Five Key Quotes

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn in London, Britain June 27. The Labour leader is facing claims that he voted out in the EU referendum, against the Remain stance of his own party. Neil Hall/Reuters

Labour's former Shadow Cabinet Ministers and other senior figures have urged Jeremy Corbyn to stand down for the good of the party in impassioned resignation letters, as swathes of his top team quit on Sunday and Monday following Britain's vote to leave the EU.

Here are five of the most notable comments:

From Chris Bryant, former Shadow Leader of the House of Commons:

"A major plank of Labour's longstanding economic and foreign policy was defeated in the referendum and we effectively handed the right in this country their biggest victory in a century.

"I urge you because you are a decent man to do the decent thing and take the only action that can avert potential disaster by stepping aside. If you do so I believe future generations will praise your selflessness. If you refuse to step aside I fear you will go down in history as the man who broke the Labour Party."

From Jess Phillips, a Birmingham MP who served in the Shadow Education Team:

"Writing or saying anything against you risks my job, the livelihood of my family, the threats are already rolling in. Turns out when you stand up for what you believe in you are principled; when I do it, I am an opportunist, careerist, Blairite or even a Zionist plotter. Funny that. I am a socialist. I live my life as a socialist. I speak up regardless of the risk because I am considerably less important than the struggle.

"The Labour party is not about you, it's about us. Most of all it's about them, the brilliant people in the U.K., even the ones who don't agree with us. We need action. We really needed it last week, the week before. I am really worried that you cannot see that you have made this all about you and not about them. Be the socialist you say you are, do the right thing and let the Labour Party be the opposition it needs to be now, when people need it most."

From Angela Eagle, former Shadow Business Secretary:

"I was devastated by the result of the EU referendum. Too many of our supporters were taken in by right-wing arguments and I believe this happened, in part, because under your leadership the case to remain in the EU was made with half-hearted ambivalence rather than full-throated clarity. While I respect the decision of the electorate, it is the communities we were both elected to serve that have been most severely let down."

From Heidi Alexander, former Shadow Health Secretary:

"Those who will be hit hardest by the economic shock associated with the vote to leave the EU need a strong opposition, as do those communities who fear rising levels of intolerance, hatred and division.

"As much as I respect you as a man of principle, I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding and I believe that if we are to form the next government, a change of leadership is essential."

From Seema Malhotra, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

"I have come to the view that under your leadership we will not be able to build bridges across the party, be the strong official opposition that the country needs or reach out to voters and build confidence in Labour. I have served in your Shadow Cabinet with loyalty and respect for the mandate you received in the leadership election, but I believe that we need to recognize that we do not currently look like a government in waiting."