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Labour MP Shadow Cabinet Resignation Letters: Ranked!

A lot of resignations today. But whose resignation was the best?

by Joel Golby
27 June 2016, 12:00am

(Photo: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment)

Quick recap: the UK voted itself out of the EU; the economy immediately tanked and the pound plunged to the worst it's been in 31 years; Cameron quit as PM, leaving the path open to a Johnston-Gove axis, which: fucking hell and Jesus Christ; and now – in a time of crisis, when the exact thing we could do with is a strong voice in opposition – the Labour Party has decided to shit itself backwards, with the shadow cabinet today resigning en masse because something, something, yadda, yadda Jeremy Corbyn.

I don't want to say "this is the end times", but this does feel an awful lot like the end times.

Anyway: resignation letters! They are quite satisfying to write, if you've never done one. You get to stick the boot in, thank people for their time, beatifically cut the fuck out of Dodge before the entire place collapses and then slag off your previous employer from a distance. I have written two in my time, and both felt wonderful. A lot of the Labour Party ones today have quite a sincere vibe of "this ship is sinking and I'm just writing to let you know I'm taking one of the life boats", but still: you imagine there were some real air punches of victory behind each and every one.

Here is a list of Labour MPs who have resigned from the shadow cabinet today (details correct as of 16:18pm; who fucking knows how it's going to go from here):

Heidi Alexander
Lilian Greenwood
Vernon Coaker
Gloria de Piero
Seema Malhotra
Lord Falconer
Karl Turner
Lucy Powell
Ian Murray
Chris Bryant
Kerry McCarthy
Lisa Nandy & Owen Smith
Angela Eagle
Maria Eagle
John Healey
Nia Griffith
Plus a load of others who aren't in the shadow cabinet so who cares

I asked Simon – our political editor and the guy we send to all the racist marches that happen in distant towns on Saturdays – if this all means the Labour Party is really fucked now, and he just said, "That's a good question" and went and made a cup of tea. So it's hard to really know what's happening at the moment, but it all seems pretty bad. Anyway: let's rank all these resignation letters and see whose was best, shall we? Firstly, a key:

Formatting: Formatting is very important for a suitably solemn and respectful resignation letter, and also I want to see proof our elected officials know how to use Word to a decent degree;
Heavy heart: If MPs do not mention that they have a heavy heart when resigning, did they really resign?
Remembered to namecheck Jeremy Corbyn as a "man of principle"? It is important to remember than Jeremy Corbyn is a man of principle, especially if you are criticising him in the form of a resignation letter for being possibly too principled, i.e. putting principles ahead of policy, speaking in public, &c.
Signature: Some of these signatures really are a shit show, and—
Additional notes: This is the section for additional notes, obviously. An overall score will be awarded to each resignation later based mainly on my own whims. ONWARDS:


HEIDI ALEXANDER

Formatting: Times New Roman, no fucking about. This is very "write a formal letter as part of your first ever Year 7 ICT class". I do not think it is a push to suggest Clippy helped compose this resignation letter.
Heavy heart? Yes.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? Yes.
Signature: The signature does not say "Heidi Alexander". As best I can tell, it says "Clueand".
Additional notes: This is the most important letter you've written in your life, Heidi Alexander, and you couldn't even put a comma after "Dear Jeremy". Sloppy.
OVERALL RATING: 4/10

LILIAN GREENWOOD

Formatting: This is a screenshot of a Word document so it's hard to fully go in, but there's an extra line break in there, and again, there's no comma after the "Dear Jeremy" and no comma after "Yours sincerely", so I'm putting this down as an exceptionally lazy resignation.
Heavy heart? No.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? No.
Signature: No signature.
Additional notes: On one hand this is one of the worst resignation letters known to man and is mainly just a load of stuff about bus services; on the other hand, Greenwood was one of the first to resign, so I'll give her one point for timing.
OVERALL RATING: 1/10

SEEMA MALHOTRA

Formatting: Decent letterhead, good paper stock, Twitter @ in the footer in green, mad little photo of Seema at the head of the page. This shit took some designing. This is an extremely well formatted resignation letter.
Heavy heart? The heart is not heavy, but there are two mentions of "great sadness".
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? No.
Signature: Fucking great signature, that. Ten on ten.
Additional notes: Nothing more to add, really. The addition of the three-quarter length portrait shot at the top has more a vibe of "I am leaving the Labour Party, Jeremy, to participate instead on the upcoming series of The Apprentice, because I have a pioneering business idea which is a new range of lamps for women," but all in all a strong showing from the Feltham & Heston MP.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10

KARL TURNER

Formatting: Centre-aligned name and address, cheeky bit of green font, sans serif font. Very modern.
Heavy heart? Karl Turner has a heavy heart.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? Yes.
Signature: No signature.
Additional notes: Karl Turner managed to get the words "Lord Willy Bach" into a very serious resignation letter, thereby making it hilarious, and as a result the East Hull MP has created one of the highlights of the last 24 hours.
OVERALL: 7/10

LUCY POWELL

Formatting: On one hand I am enjoying the "HOUSE OF COMMONS" letter heading, but then I'm not a big fan of the fuckabout formatting Powell's had to do to fit on both Corbyn's address and her own seven paragraphs about why Labour is bad now, so: a mixed bag.
Heavy heart? Heart: surprisingly light. Regret: there is regret.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? "A decent, principled and kind colleague." Lucy Powell, for the sycophant's version of a perfect hattrick.
Signature: It just says "Lucy". Mate, you're not Madonna.
Additional notes: As the day has worn on there has been a trend among Labour shadow cabinet resignation letters to blather on a bit about all the good shit they have done in their nine months serving under Corbyn – they seem to exist in some sort of confusing realm where Corbyn has done nothing good and the Labour Party has done nothing good beneath him, but also they as individuals have actually somehow managed in that situation to do something good. Powell is no different, because there's a whole bit about how she's done a lot of stuff for teachers and a whole other bit about how Jeremy Corbyn has somehow destroyed Britain's sense of community. Anyway, it's a bit long.
OVERALL: 6/10

IAN MURRAY

Formatting: Very to-the-point, commas in all the right places. Times New Roman wouldn't have gone amiss.
Heavy heart? Ian Murray doesn't have space to open with a "it is with a heavy heart that I..." because he is too busy recounting his entire life story before he even gets close to resigning. GET ON WITH IT, IAN.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? You know when a birthday card comes around the office and it's for someone you sort of tangentially know – you know their name and their face, you see them about the office, but you've never really had a conversation with them, you'd never really call them a friend, per se – and you look at the birthday card and about 28 of the 30 signatures up until now just say a combination of "Happy Birthday!" or "All the best!", because when people love you they have in-jokes for you, and when they don't they have the same empty words as everyone else? Anyway: here's Ian Murray with an almost-the-same-but-not-quite-the-same-as-Lucy-Powell's sentiment of calling Corbyn here a "Kind, principled and genuinely decent man."
Signature: Mate, did you do that with a fucking Sharpie or something? You don't have a fountain pen or a biro to hand, here? Should you really be in charge of anything if you don't have a decent pen to hand? Is this what pens are like in Scotland?
Additional notes: Ian Murray resigned about 400 words ago, but he still chugged along enough to put in a quote from John Smith, and that's just manic enough to gain this resignation letter a strong final couple of points.
OVERALL: 8/10

CHRIS BRYANT

Formatting: Strong formatting from Bryant, to be fair. Red ink. Strong font. Decent.
Heavy heart? No heavy heart, so that's a negative
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? He spends an entire paragraph slagging Corbyn quite roundly off, then at the end says he will "go down in history as the man who broke the Labour Party", so fair to say that no, no "man of principle" shout outs here.
Signature: i. Writes his own "Yours Sincerely", a curiously false-seeming move which actually makes me doubt the sincerity offered more than if it had just been typed; ii. Signs it "Chris", which, again: who are you, mate, Prince? Do you think you are Prince? You are not Prince.
Additional notes: Big up Chris Bryant for having the balls to say Corbyn is causing the Labour Party to be less united before capsizing a swathe of the Labour Party by resigning from its cabinet, a cabinet he already said at the top of the page he didn't ever really think would work and only served reluctantly. The man must have testicles like space hoppers.
OVERALL: 9/10, great resignation

KERRY McCARTHY

Formatting: In need of a few paragraph breaks, but you'll take it.
Heavy heart? Not even a sniff of regret, no.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? Mentions Corbyn's "long held principles", but in the context of "Although I do not doubt your commitment to your long held principles" it's actually one of the biggest pars of the millennium.
Signature: Fat pen, decent cursive. Like your least favourite teacher sending your mum a note telling her you're thick.
Additional notes: An overall quite uninspiring resignation letter from an MP many people will confess to never having heard of.
OVERALL: 6/10

LISA NANDY & OWEN SMITH

Formatting: None to speak of whatsoever. This isn't a letter; it's a slightly-too-long text message from your mum announcing her inevitable divorce from your dad.
Heavy heart? No heavy heart, yes "huge sadness".
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? Not even for a minute.
Signature: Putting your name in italics doesn't constitute signing it, Lisa Nandy & Owen Smith
Additional notes: Very lazy resignation letter, imo; no letterhead and no signature. Essentially all this needs is a "Sent from my iPad" to complete the picture. This is a message from two people so disenfranchised they can barely be bothered to resign properly, which I suppose – if you want to get deep about it – is a pretty accurate picture of the Labour Party right now.
OVERALL: 1/10

ANGELA EAGLE, MARIA EAGLE

Formatting: Did you even know Labour had twin MPs called Angela and Maria Eagle before today? Did you? Did you?!
Heavy heart? They could be known as "The Eagle Sisters".
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? How is someone not already writing a graphic novel based on this information? How is this not happening right now?
Signature: Neither Angela Eagle nor Maria Eagle's signature is just a picture of an eagle with the word "EAGLE" printed below it, so points deducted for that.
Additional notes: w/ respect to Angela Eagle (codename: "EAGLE 1") her resignation letter is very convincing, and she's since been on Sky News basically crying about how Labour is bad now, and essentially her resignation letter is the best hint that there is, if nothing else, a pretty comprehensive failure of communication within the Labour Party under Corbyn, and that, in some quarters at least, this isn't the coup it looks like from the outside. Also, her letterhead features ten entire constituencies I've never fucking heard of, which is amazing. Geography!
OVERALL: 10/10

JOHN HEALEY

Formatting: We got a maverick, here. Handwritten "Dear Jeremy" (no comma) in a scrawled font that takes up half the allotted page. Welcome to Crazytown, population 1, Mayor: Rt Hon John Healey MP.
Heavy heart? No, but "deep regret".
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? No.
Signature: John Healey's signature reads – and I've looked at it for a while now – "LusqeverJ", which is not a name. That's nothing. That's nonsense.
Additional notes: Healey did hand-deliver his resignation letter, a very classy backstab.
OVERALL: 9/10

NIA GRIFFITH

Formatting: Short, sweet, Times New Roman. You know for damn sure Nia Griffith bangs out resignation letters for fun.
Heavy heart? No.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? Yes.
Signature: Angled upwards like the logo of a particularly low-budget 1980s cop show.
Additional notes: I have no additional notes. This resignation letter is like a stern telling off you can't answer back to. I'm just going to go to my room and think about what I've done, and I'm not even Jeremy Corbyn.
OVERALL: 8/10

KEIR STARMER

Formatting: Exceptional headed paper, lovely font choice, yellow paper w/ green accents, handwritten "Dear Jeremy" (w/ comma). Overall, an absolutely lovely resignation. It's just a shame he submitted this at half past fucking three when I was already drafting this article.
Heavy heart? Deep regret, yes; heavy heart, no.
Remembered to namecheck Corbyn as a "man of principle"? No, but takes the opportunity to slip in a sly "I've never spoken out publicly against you...", which has a pretty screaming subtext of "... but I have properly slagged you off behind closed doors".
Signature: Signature says "Kwi" instead of "Keir", and is also written in blue – the sociopath's choice of ink.
Additional notes: Keir obviously loses points for disrupting my workflow and resigning mid-afternoon instead of in the morning like everyone else, and additionally loses points for having no real reason to resign other than, "Well, everyone else has resigned?" So despite some strong formatting, this is ultimately a very weak resignation letter.
OVERALL: 5/10


OVERALL WINNER, BEST LABOUR SHADOW CABINET RESIGNATION LETTER, JUNE 2016 EDITION: The best Labour shadow cabinet resignation letter in June of 2016 is (at time of press) Angela Eagle's.

@joelgolby

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