Dear Jeremy,

Although I am not a member of your shadow cabinet, and I fear we have only met once very briefly in passing in Portcullis House several years ago, I have decided to resign nonetheless.

I wish I could say that I do this with a heavy heart, but it would not be true. Indeed, I will go further and say that I would be absolutely delighted if you resign. You should not have stood for the leadership of your party, and your terrible policies, if ever implemented, which mercifully they never will be, would rapidly reduce Britain to the status of a lesser Venezuela, that nice but afflicted country your pal Hugo Chavez ruined.

Asking you to quit has been one of the easiest decisions I have ever had to make. After wrestling with my conscience for all of several seconds, I decided that it is time for me to add my voice to those calling on you to stand aside for someone who can do a better job. Mickey Mouse being unwilling to stand, it seems another candidate will have to emerge from the ranks of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

That person will take on a difficult job (the worst job in politics – all scrutiny and no power) at a difficult moment for the country. Even in normal times, being leader of the opposition is a serious task. Now, more than ever, the Tories must be held to account properly, because when the opposition is lazy, incompetent or not credible, the entitled parts of the Conservative party have a habit of going off the rails and making terrible mistakes for which the country suffers.

This is also – for all its myriad flaws – a great country brim full of clever people and it simply makes no sense that of the many gifted people on the left in public life it ended up being you at the despatch box. You are the accidental leader – like Peter Sellers’ character in Being There – urged on by several types of people: cynical veteran representatives of the hard left and naive newbie activists who cannot grasp that if England did not vote for Ed Miliband, even less of it will vote for you. Then there are celebrity pillocks who have offered you support. I am thinking here of Mr Rufus Hound.

It is customary at these moments for me to say that you are a decent man, and I am sure that it must be true because many decent people are saying so. But I am sorry to say that I cannot get all of those speeches you made about Northern Ireland and the photo opportunities with leading members of the IRA out of my head.

You’ve kept some pretty terrible company down the years, not least the hard left McDonnell who with a brazenness that is astonishing – considering his lack of a record of achievement and Hugo Chavez-style economic credo – thinks he is somehow suited to becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I am also urging everyone I know – particularly the sensible, patriotic, centrist types – to join the Labour party this evening so that they can take part in choosing a proper leader of the opposition.

I wish you luck with your garden – and your bicycle, and your wood carving hobby – and good fortune in your personal life. But at Westminster the joke is over. Please resign now.

Best regards,

Iain Martin