One of Birmingham’s longest serving MPs has vowed to fight on for another decade after accusing Labour Party members of ‘stirring’ up resignation rumours.
A letter from Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff, sent to senior Birmingham City Councillor Habib Rehman and Labour party officials, accuses councillors of spreading ‘spurious and untrue rumours’ about his resignation.
Mr Godsiff has been a Birmingham MP since 1992 and won with a 3,799 majority in 2010. But in the letter he even accuses Coun Rehman, Hall Green District Chairman and Cabinet member for jobs and skills, and Coun Tahir Ali (Nechells) of visiting party members to promote his successor. The letter, leaked to the media, says: “It is a time honoured tradition in Birmingham that some councillors gather in the Labour Members Room and, because they have nothing better to do, ‘stir the pot’ by thinking up false ‘rumours’.
“They then go around saying ‘there’s a rumour going around without having the integrity to admit that they have started the rumour themselves.
‘‘Of course, when confronted, the individual who started the malicious rumour will vehemently deny it was them.
“This is regrettable but I suppose that the old saying applies ‘once a stirrer – always a stirrer”.
Mr Godsiff goes on to confirm that he plans to contest both the 2015 and 2020 elections.
Asked to comment on the letter yesterday, the MP said: “It is a private correspondence.”
The majority of Labour’s eight Birmingham Parliamentary seats are seen as relatively safe and are highly sought after.
Rumours frequently circulate about resignations and the more ambitious Labour activists and councillors are often jostling for position to step up to the House of Commons.
Coun Tahir Ali said that the issue between Mr Godsiff and Coun Rehman has now been resolved.
But he said: “This is nothing compared to the arguments and speculation which used to take place in the Birmingham Labour Party.
“There isn’t an MP in Birmingham who is not at one time or an other the subject of resignation rumours. He really should not be getting upset at all this.”
He added that the Labour Party is investigating the source of the rumour and will take action against an ‘unnamed individual’ thought to be responsible.