Second peer abandons Labour benches in Lords over Corbyn's leadership

House Of Lords

Lord Grabiner has become the second peer to abandon Labour’s benches in the House of Lords because of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, saying “I can’t square [staying] with my conscience”.

His decision comes five days after former junior health minister Lord Warner resigned the Labour whip, saying it was no longer “a credible party of government-in-waiting”.

A third peer, the former cabinet minister Lord Adonis, left the Labour benches last month after being recruited by the chancellor, George Osborne, to head the new national infrastructure commission.

Grabiner, a QC and master of Clare College, Cambridge, joined the Lords in 1999. He will remain a member of the Labour party but will now sit as a crossbencher.

He told the Times that Labour was in disarray and Corbyn’s proposals and views were “terribly damaging and there is no effective opposition” to the Conservatives.

Explaining his decision, he said: “I have nothing in common whatever with Mr Corbyn – and I don’t believe we are ever going to win an election.”

He was also particularly worried about the appointment of John McDonnell as shadow chancellor: “I am concerned with the economic stuff; I am really concerned with the shadow chancellor.”

A spokesman for Labour in the Lords played down the move: “We know he has been increasingly busy and less able to attend the Lords to participate in House business, and we of course understand his decision to relinquish the Labour whip.”

Grabiner has not voted since October 2013. He last spoke in the Lords in February 2011.

Peers who did not speak at all in House of Lords debates over the past year still claimed almost £1.3m in expenses and allowances, according to research by the Electoral Reform Society.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nicola Slawson, for theguardian.com on Saturday 24th October 2015 11.18 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010