Belfast Telegraph

NI-born MP ‘to join race to be Labour’s next deputy leader’

Conor McGinn
Conor McGinn
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

A Northern Ireland-born MP is reportedly planning on running to be Jeremy Corbyn's deputy, despite previously accusing the Labour leader of trying to use his family against him.

According to the New Statesman, Conor McGinn, who is originally from south Armagh and was elected to the Commons in 2015, wants to replace Tom Watson, who announced his resignation on Wednesday.

Before becoming an MP, Mr McGinn was a special adviser to ex-shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Vernon Coaker.

After being elected, he worked as a whip for a year before resigning in October 2016 over the removal of shadow chief whip Rosie Winterton in a shadow cabinet reshuffle.

Mr McGinn was instrumental in the local same-sex marriage campaign and successfully amended devolution legislation to pave the way for legalisation.

After the amendment passed the Commons, he said: "Having been let down so many times before, LGBT people in Northern Ireland can now look forward to enjoying the same rights as everyone else in the rest of the UK and the island of Ireland."

In 2016 the St Helens North MP was involved in a Twitter spat with Jeremy Corbyn, who he claimed "intended to ring my father", the former Sinn Fein councillor Pat McGinn, over an interview given by Mr McGinn.

Mr McGinn tweeted he could no longer tolerate Mr Corbyn's "hypocrisy" after watching him on Newsnight talking about a kinder, gentler politics, saying he knew for a fact the party leader had proposed using his family against him in an attempt to bully him into submission.

"It transpired that Jeremy, in deliberations about how to respond to my interview, had said that he intended to ring my father... and ask him to speak to me about it," Mr McGinn said.

"Jeremy does not know my father, so I can only presume that, because of the much-publicised fact that my father was a Sinn Fein councillor, Jeremy felt they would share a political affinity and was proposing to use that to ask my father to apply pressure on me.

"Others dissuaded Jeremy from taking this course of action. The call was not made. It would not have been well received."

People wishing to stand for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party require the support of 10% of MPs or 5% of constituency parties or trade unions.

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