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Rosie Duffield considering future as Canterbury MP over censure row

By Sean McPolin

Rosie Duffield is considering her future in parliament after a row with party members in her constituency over her support for anti-Semitism protestors.

The Canterbury MP had been told she was at risk of censure from members of her own association over her support for those protesting at Labour’s stance on anti-Semitism.

Attempts by the party to contain the row by dropping the motion were thwarted when it emerged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused calls to offer his support for the under-fire MP at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield
Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield

Ms Duffield, who won the Canterbury and Whitstable seat for Labour for the first time in the party's history last year, said she would have liked to see a form of public support, in an interview with the Guardian.

She said: "Sometimes you have to ask yourself if positives outweigh negatives, and whether it is worth the effect it is having on my family.

"It would be really nice if Jeremy could help each MP going through this with a personal statement, to make it clear that people – even those who do it without knowing it – don’t do it in his name.

“I am not an anti-Corbyn MP just because I am standing up to anti-Semitism. That is a really clear line we could adopt."

"...It's a huge drain on my energy, on my time and it's distracting from what I'm really here to do." - Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield

The 47-year-old admitted the furore had become a waste of time and energy, and that some members may have misinterpreted her support for the march.

She said: “It makes me really annoyed. For example, I wanted to go to the fracking debate, and I had a lot of constituents asking me to be part of it, but again today, the third day of this debacle, I’ve had to deal with the situation in the constituency and with the media.

“I didn’t get to write a decent speech, so I didn’t feel I could go to the debate, and it’s actually something I really care about and my constituents care about.

Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield
Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield

"So it’s a huge drain on my energy, on my time and it’s distracting from what I’m really here to do.

"People thought I had gone to an anti-Corbyn rally.

“It was quite disturbing that people thought that by campaigning against anti-Semitism I was campaigning against Jeremy. That implies they think that he thinks anti-Semitism is OK, which obviously isn’t the case.”

Ms Duffield's words have drawn the support of leading Labour figures in her constituency.

Cllr Alan Baldock, the leader of the Labour group on Canterbury City Council, said: "She has felt pretty batted by events this week.

Cllr Alan Baldock
Cllr Alan Baldock

"She is someone who wears her heart on her sleeve and works incredibly hard for her constituents.

"I do not think that she will be going anywhere soon. She has the full support of the vast majority of the party."

He added: "I am not in the least bit surprised that she feels the way she does but I do not think she will stand down."

Ms Duffield was elected as Canterbury MP last year, defeating long standing Conservative Julian Brazier.

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