Why I won’t be re-joining Labour

Currently I have a lot of people on my Twitter feed asking ex-Labour members like me to re-join the party to wrest control back from the Corbynites. For a fleeting second, I do feel a tiny pull, the old vestigial loyalty flickers for a moment but then just as swiftly dies.

Since I joined the Liberal Democrats just over a year ago after a long (too long) time in Labour, I have discovered that this party is the true home of radical, progressive politics. As someone on the Centre Left, I feel far more comfortable here than I ever did in Labour.

Why? First, because I feel that I have an equal voice in this party and a real say in policy rather than just being the canvass fodder I was in Labour; party democracy in the Lib Dems is real rather than a vague aspiration. Second, linked to the first point, I have been able to set up an official group within the Party (the Liberal Democrat Autism Group). As far as I am aware this is the only party Autism group in the UK; a great example of both the freedom we have as members and of our party’s inclusive values. Third, this party is a truly broad church – left-wingers like me can happily co-exist, debate and work with those on the Centre Right; in the Labour Party the different factions exist in a permanent state of cold war, hating and distrusting each other almost, if not more, than they hate the Tories and us.

My overriding reason for not going back is moral. Labour moderates talked about ‘staying and fighting’ – well, I saw a lot of staying and very little, if any, fighting. The same MPs we see coming out and denouncing Corbyn are the same ones who a week ago were campaigning to make the man they now say they always thought was an incompetent far Left extremist, Prime Minister. Perhaps I am old-fashioned but I cannot support people who display such little moral courage. These people knew the dark truth about Corbyn and Corbynism and they did precisely nothing about it. I cannot accept that the old sins are forgiven and forgotten so easily and that this is a slate wipe-clean Year Zero; not speaking out equals complicity.

So I will not be going back. This is my ‘forever’ political home and indeed the best home for all believers in progressive, socially just politics. Centre Left-wingers like me should not be re-joining Labour, they should be joining the Liberal Democrats.

* Mark Paine joined the Liberal Democrats from Labour in 2018

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Peter Martin 20th Dec '19 - 7:56pm

    Do you think that Chuka might be planning to rejoin Labour? I’ve emailed him to ask if has any further use for his red ties but he hasn’t got back to me yet. I’ve said I’d make it worth his while, so I think the only reason must be that he’s at least thinking about it.

  • James Belchamber 20th Dec '19 - 7:57pm

    Welcome home, Mark 🙂

  • @Peter Martin

    Dream on!

    I highly doubt Chuka Umuna is even thinking of re-joining Labour. I doubt Labour would accept him back, and given the extreme vitriol and abuse (a fair proportion of it racially motivated) he’s been on the receiving end of from the Labour faithful, I’m sure he has little desire to re-enter the party of hate that the Labour Party has become

  • Bless Peter has found a role as resident comedian, let us all hope he is more sucessful at that than with his Lexit or Economic theories. Wise decsion moving away from economics and polticqal thought Peter you really hadn’t got the hang of either of them.

  • David Warren 20th Dec '19 - 10:03pm

    Well said Mark. I left the Labour party in 2010 after more than 20 years. In that time I held a variety of posts, stood for the local council and as an NEC member of a trade union sat on its national political committee.

    When with Labour I considered myself on its left and on a couple of occasions spoke on the same platform as John McDonnell. When Corbyn became leader I felt no urge to return and still don’t. I now consider myself a Liberal albeit a very radical one and with the Lib Dems being the only party in the UK that espouses my philosophy I feel at home.

    All forms of socialism whatever the variety are inherently authoritarian, something I learnt at first hand in my time with the ‘comrades.’

  • Glad to hear it Mark. I always like reading your articles on here and it is very clear to me that you are indeed a gut social Liberal – even if you didn’t realise it for a while! 🙂 From someone who has been a lefty LibDem member for over 30 years now, you are very welcome here. You too David.

  • Out of the ashes of the Labour Party lets build a Liberal Democrat Party that truly reflects the aspirations and needs of the people of this country.

  • Andrew Tampion 21st Dec '19 - 5:10am

    I have a wager, of a pint of beer, with a Labour supporting friend that Chuka will be a Tory by the local elections.

  • Richard Easter 21st Dec '19 - 8:03am

    I suspect if the Lib Dems regroup and tilt their future focus towards the West Country and Norfolk, and look to champion rural and local issues, Chukka will definitely be off somewhere else! Can’t really see him trying to rally Newquay!

  • Richard Easter 21st Dec ’19 – 8:03am:
    …Chukka will definitely be off somewhere else! Can’t really see him trying to rally Newquay!

    He could get some sympathy from novice surfers having attempted to ride several waves that ended with an embarrassing wipeout, but I expect most Newquay voters will be looking for someone with honesty and integrity who will honour the manifesto commitments on which they are elected.

  • Jack McKenna 21st Dec '19 - 8:23pm

    The Hard-Left have a vice like grip on the roots on the Labour party.

    They got their ducks in a row incredibly quickly to claim the defeat was solely because the remainers pushed them into their Brexit position and the media were a bit nasty to them.

    I’m certain the next Labour leader will be whoever can convince the membership that they are the person to keep on carrying on the torch of Corbynism.

  • @ Jack McKenna ” the media were a bit nasty to them.”

    Funny you mention that here, Jack, seems to be a familiar refrain on LDV.

  • Andrew Tampion 22nd Dec '19 - 6:56am

    We will see. Personally I think it could go either way.

  • Thank you for the comments. To me, it’s immaterial who wins the Labour leadership contest for the reasons I have outlined above.
    I am concentrating my time and energy on building the Liberal Democrats in the West Midlands.

  • If you are happy being a member of a party that joined in government with the Tories from 2010 to 2015, why you would even consider joining a socialist party is beyond me.

  • Don’t let the media spin fool you, Corbyn’s Labour Party got 32.1% which is down 7.9% on Corbyn’s performance in 2017 but still better than Labour got in 2015 with Ed Milliband or with Gordon Brown in 2010

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Helen Dudden
    With families going hungry and cold, as with the older and those unwell with disabilities. One doctors surgery in Bath, told their patients that only sick peop...
  • Martin
    There is very little mechanism for removing a Prime Minister or any Minister who has Lied or acted corruptly. With FPTP and an absolute majority it depends ult...
  • Jeff
    Malcolm Todd 24th May '22 - 6:55pm: The difference between “avoid” and “endeavour to avoid” can’t just be swept under the carpet… ...
  • Barry Lofty
    It is a sad reality that Johnson will probably survive Sue Gray,s inquiry but what a terrible situation our country faces in the midst of another crisis, left...
  • Roger Lake
    May I add a comment slightly off the point, made a few days ago in response to the call by Humphrey Hawksley on LDV for Weds 11th May, for a Lib Dem 'Big Idea'...