Jeremy Corbyn has said that he “forgot” that he met the controversial activist Dyab Abou Jahjah after saying on BBC Radio 4’s World at One:
“I’m sorry, I don’t know who this person is”.
After presented with evidence that Corbyn had shared a platform with Dyab Abou Jahjah his team admitted that the Labour leadership candidate had met him. Jahjah is one of the most controversial Arab activists and said:
“Every dead American, British and Dutch soldier is a victory”.
Jahjah has also made statements which questioned the Holocaust which adds to other individuals linked to Jeremy Corbyn who have expressed similar views.
A spokesman for the Labour Party has confirmed that they have been receiving legal advice over the legality of the current leadership contest. A party spokesman said:
“We have taken legal advice to make sure that the rules are being complied with and that all due diligence as possible was being done”.
The spokesman also confirmed that there were no plans to delay or suspend the leadership contest despite claims that members of other parties had joined under the new £3 rate to cast a vote.
Following the resignation of Ed Miliband in May 2015 the acting leader, Harriet Harman, had said:
“This contest will be run under the new rules we agreed last year: a broad and open contest with one person, one vote. We want as many people as possible to take part. More than 30,000 new members have joined the party in the last few days and I hope many more members and supporters will take this opportunity to have their voice heard”.
The four candidates in the leadership process are Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall. The voting process is already underway and the result will be announced at a special conference to be held on Saturday 12 September 2015.
Jeremy Corbyn, one of the four candidates for the leadership of the Labour Party, has said that he could work with Andy Burnham who is one of the other candidates.
Corbyn said on Newsnight:
“Obviously there has to be a party of all the talents and of course, we can work together, and that’s an easy thing to do”.
Yvette Cooper, also standing for leadership of the Labour Party, criticised Burnham’s position which represents a change to previous stances that he has taken on Jeremy Corbyn. She called on Burnham to stand down with her campaign team saying:
“Our figures show he will drop out in the second round because his campaign is failing to provide an effective alternative to Jeremy and he is losing first preferences as a consequence. If he isn’t prepared to offer an alternative to Jeremy, he needs to step back and leave it to Yvette”.
Yvette Cooper has denied allegations made in a Daily Telegraph article that Peter Mandelson had called on her, and the other leadership candidates, to step down.
Confirming that she didn’t intend to step down from the contest Cooper said:
“I’ve not discussed this with Peter Mandelson. I gather there was some view that maybe the whole process should be stopped because so many people were joining at the last minute”.
Peter Mandelson, the former First Secretary of State, was accused of interfering with the process to leave Jeremy Corbyn as the only candidate in the leadership race.
David Miliband, the former Labour Foreign Secretary and leadership contender, has said that he is supporting Liz Kendall’s bid to lead the Labour Party.
Writing in the Guardian Miliband said:
“I know from experience the challenge and demands of running in a leadership campaign, so I have good reason to respect the commitment and integrity of all the candidates. I have been struck since the beginning of the campaign by the plain speaking, fresh thinking and political courage of Liz Kendall and the new generation of politicians – Chuka Umunna, Emma Reynolds, Tristram Hunt – who have declared their support for her. From industrial policy to the devolution of power, from housing to education, they got the message from the 2010 and 2015 elections that trying to turn the Labour clock back to the pre-Blair era made no sense”.
Miliband also criticised strongly the policies of Jeremy Corbyn saying:
“The Corbyn programme looks backwards. The pledges of nationalisation, 7p in the pound increases in national insurance for those earning more than £50,000, and equivocation about Britain’s place in the EU are the same ideas that I learned were wrong when I joined the Labour party in 1981”.
Miliband’s intervention came after similar criticisms of Corbyn’s chances from former senior Labour figures including Tony Blair, Alan Johnson and Jack Straw. Gordon Brown also strongly indicated in a speech that economic credibility was crucial in what was seen as a criticism of the Corbyn campaign.
Andy Burnham has become the third candidate in the Labour leadership to warn of the dangers of electing Jeremy Corbyn, the remaining candidate for the leadership.
In an interview Burnham said:
“Think carefully before you vote and don’t make Labour a party of protest that is racked by internal divisions rather than focusing on being a proper opposition and taking on the Tories”.
Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall had both also warned of the dangers of electing Corbyn with Cooper preparing a critique of his policies and Kendall warning about the difficulties of progressing peace in Northern Ireland.
Burnham’s attacks come just a day after he said that criticisms of Corbyn were “misreading the mood of the party”.
The Daily Mirror, the only national newspaper to support Labour at the 2015 General Election, also came out in support of Andy Burnham. It said in an editorial:
“Parents fighting to put food on their table tonight do not need Labour to spend many, many years in the wilderness which followed Michael Foot’s leadership in the 1980s”.
Tony Blair, the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007 and party leader from 1994 to 2007, has warned Labour members against voting for Jeremy Corbyn in the party’s leadership elections.
Blair wrote in the Guardian:
“If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation. If he wins the leadership, the public will at first be amused, bemused and even intrigued. But as the years roll on, as Tory policies bite and the need for an effective opposition mounts – and oppositions are only effective if they stand a hope of winning – the public mood will turn to anger. They will seek to punish us. They will see themselves as victims not only of the Tory government but of our self-indulgence”.
Corbyn’s team responded to the comments by saying:
“We are keeping our campaign positive and remain focused on our policies that offer the sound economic choice of investment and growth, not the politically driven agenda of austerity and cuts preventing economic recovery”.
Other senior figures in the Labour Party are also expected to express their concerns about Corbyn’s leadership over the next few weeks. The voting will take place from 14 August to 10 September with the winner being announced on 12 September 2015.
The Labour Party has confirmed that 1,200 people have been banned from voting in its leadership election. The party has the power to remove anyone who also supports another political party and said more may be removed later.
Among those removed from voting include Ken Loach, the film director who supports Left Unity, Toby Young, a journalist who encouraged others to join the party to vote Corbyn, and Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham.
The party said of those who were banned from voting there were 214 members of the Green Party, 37 from the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, 13 from the Conservative Party, 7 from UKIP and 1 from the BNP.
The result of the Labour leadership will be announced on 12 September with the four candidates including Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall.
Jeremy Corbyn, one of the four candidates for the Labour leadership, has caused controversy over remarks he made in an interview with the Independent on Sunday over his support for nationalising some companies.
In the interview with the Independent on Sunday Corbyn said:
“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring clause IV as it was originally written or it’s a different one”.
The remarks drew criticism from the other leadership candidates, including Liz Kendall who said:
“This shows there is nothing new about Corbyn’s politics. It is just a throwback to the past, not the change we need for our party or our country. We are a party of the future not a preservation society”.
The other two candidates for the leadership, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, also criticised Corbyn’s comments. Cooper said:
“I want Britain to double its investment in science to create 2m more hi-tech manufacturing jobs. We should be working in partnership with business, not spending billions of pounds we haven’t got buying businesses out”.
Liz Kendall is the only one of the four candidates for the leadership of the Labour Party to back Harriet Harman in saying that she would support parts of the Conservative Party budget.
Harman in her role as acting leader of the Labour Party said that she understand how some parents were unable to afford to have more children and the party needed to listen to them as well as those on benefits.
Jeremy Corbyn rejected Harman’s stance and said that he would “not be willing to vote for policies which push more children into poverty” but didn’t comment on what he would do for parents who were unable to afford more children.