Emma Lewell-Buck declines spot at Corbyn debate

Jeremy Corbyn appeared in Sunderland last week.
Jeremy Corbyn appeared in Sunderland last week.
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South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has turned down an invitation to host a public debate over the future of the Labour leadership.

Harton and Westoe Miners Banner Group have staged a series of meetings to garner support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“She has declined our offer to publicy debate the reasons why she is not supporting Corbyn and to put her views across to the public.”

John Watson

The veteran MP is fighting to retain his position following a vote of no confidence by a number of MPs. He is being challenged for the leadership by Owen Smith MP.

Mrs Lewell-Buck has been invited by the group to debate the issues dominating the leadership campaign.

Secretary of the group John Watson said: “Following concerns raised by the MP over security, we were willing to accept any venue and security measures suggested by her to have a constructive meeting.

“However, she has declined our offer to publicly debate the reasons why she is not supporting Corbyn and to put her views across.”

In an email sent to Mr Watson the MP has confirmed she would meet with the banner group privately at her office in Westoe Road but felt a public meeting would not be “appropriate or beneficial”.

In her response to Mr Watson she added she felt the public meeting offered “no guarantee” that those attending would be Labour Party members.

The MP added the meeting could be seen as her holding a “CLP (constituency labour party) nomination meeting.”

South Shields CLP is unable to nominate who they’d suppport due to being suspended.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “I have been in touch with Harton and Westoe Banner Group and explained that I am more than happy to meet with them at my office. I sent a detailed email to the Group last week along with an invitation for them to contact my constituency office to arrange a mutually convenient date and time for the meeting to take place.”