In Brighton, eyes are on two rising stars who are tipped to replace Jeremy Corbyn. The first is Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, who is popping up at several fringe events about the future of the party. The second is Dan Jarvis, the former shadow justice minister, who made his only appearance at a Huffington Post fringe event this afternoon. Jarvis revealed that running for the Labour leadership this time around was ‘never on the table’ and Jeremy Corbyn did not offer him a job (contrary to previous reports) in his shadow cabinet — even though he turned it down.
Just like the other moderates who have spoken at this conference, the MP for Barnsley Central said he could still ably serve his party from the back benches. Despite leaving front line politics, he warned that Labour must keep up its defences against the Conservatives:
‘As a party we are under attack. We are up against a ruthless Tory machine It was a ruthless Tory machine that outfought us, outgamed us, outplayed us, outspent us at the General Election.
On Syria, Jarvis said he believed that Corbyn shouldn’t whip any vote in the Commons:
‘I think it’s right that individual Labour MPs scrutinise this proposal, apply their own judgement. On a matter such a this, a matter of conscience, I think its right that every Labour MP be allowed to have their say based on their own conscience and on their own views’
But similarly to appearances made by Tristram Hunt and Chuka Umunna, there was a distinct lack of detail about Jarvis’ views. We already knew that he is a passionate family man, who has a strong belief in the armed forces. This may appear to be a powerful combination to be Labour leader, but throughout the hour-long event, there were sparse details of what he thinks about the economy, immigration — or any key policy areas for that matter.
Maybe it doesn’t matter right now, as there is no leadership election on the horizon, but many Labour MPs would like to know more about him. Jarvis did say that now he’s returned to the back benches, he will be able to speak his mind more freely, so we might find out soon what Jarvis actually thinks.