Labour’s housing spokesman, John Healey, has spoken out against the split in the party which has so far seen eight MPs resign and form an independent group in the Commons.
“We stood together on the Labour manifesto 18 months ago that would have made a big change in this country for the better” he told the BBC’s Politics Live show.
Referring to his own constituency, in which he says he has spoken to former miners and steel-workers who remember the last major Labour split in the 1980s, Healey says: “It led to a decade of Thatcherite-Tory damage to our communities and our area.”
He continues that the split “takes the pressure off Theresa May and the Conservatives at this very critical time when we have to be working together to press her to stop a No Deal Brexit. And if we have a general election - which we may well have in the coming months - this [split] can only mean more Tory MPs.”
Healey is regarded as a moderate in the Labour party, and has in the past resigned from the post of shadow housing and planning minister as part of an orchestrated protest in spring 2016 against the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
However, in later 2016 - after the party appeared to have some difficulty finding a replacement for the housing brief - Healey took up the slightly-refashioned post of shadow housing minister and is regarded as being an experienced advocate of affordable housing in particular.