New Labour Leader to be Announced on 4 April 2020

Labour’s NEC has confirmed that the new party leader will be announced on 4 April 2020 at a special conference. Anyone who is a member of the party, or an affiliated organisation, on 20 January 2020 will be entitled to vote in the election.

There are currently six candidates standing in the election, Clive Lewis, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.

Keir Starmer Takes Lead in Poll of Labour Members

Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, has taken a lead in a poll of Labour members of who should become the next party leader. The survey, undertaken by YouGov, reported that Starmer was the first choice in all regions of the country amongst party members.

The polling suggested that Starmer had the support of 61% of party members, compared to the 39% who supported Rebecca Long-Bailey if the two candidates were running against each other.

Amongst party members, the following were the first choice of those interviewed:

Keir Starmer – 31%

Rebecca Long-Bailey – 20%

Jess Phillips – 11%

Clive Lewis – 7%

Yvette Cooper – 7%

Emily Thornberry – 6%

Lisa Nandy – 5%

Clive Lewis Announces Labour Leadership Bid

Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, has announced that he will be a candidate for the party’s leadership following the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn. Lewis, who is on the party’s left, said that members would be given more power to select candidates and policies.

Writing in the Guardian, Lewis said:

“In a divided party, there is always a danger that factions will overcome facts; or, with a compromise candidate, that triangulation will trump truth. I want to break this cycle: to use the leadership campaign as an opportunity for us all to learn from each other, and to help our party grow. That’s the first reason I’m standing: for a chance to tell the truth. With our party on the edge of a precipice, now is the time to dispel our fears and face up to reality.”

He also rejected the record of New Labour and the party’s period in Government, saying:

“The truth is that while making a clear break with the New Labour era in terms of policy and personnel, the party was never able to communicate this to voters in our heartlands. When trying to persuade them of our radicalism and sincerity, we often had the legacy of the 2000s thrown back in our faces. Persuading voters that we understand the sources of their long-held resentment and frustration, of their disappointment in how Labour has conducted itself since the 1990s, will be the first step towards winning back their trust.”

Clive Lewis Denies Allegation that he Groped a Woman

Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, has denied allegations that he groped a woman at the 2017 Labour Party conference. Lewis had recently apologised for comments that he made at the same party conference, with the party also issuing an apology for his behaviour.

Lewis denied the new allegations, saying:

“I wouldn’t do that to someone. It’s not what I do, it’s not my style, it’s not how I roll. I do not do that”.

He added:

“All I know is that I would not deliberately do that, do what’s alleged. I completely deny that”.

The Labour Party confirmed that an investigation had been launched into the allegations.

Clive Lewis, Norwich South Labour MP, Apologises for Inappropriate Comments

Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, has apologised after video footage appeared of him telling an individual “to get on your knees, bitch”. The Labour Party apologised for Lewis’s behaviour and said that “his behaviour was completely unacceptable and falls far short of the standard we expect”.

Harriet Harman, the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, said on Twitter:

“Inexplicable. Inexcusable. Dismayed”.

Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said on Twitter:

“Just seen the Clive Lewis video. Obviously I am appalled, just listened to 7 teenage girls speak up about gender inequality. Perhaps I’ll bring them to work on Monday”.

Yvette Cooper, the former Shadow Home Secretary, said on Twitter:

“Agree w Jess. No excuse for saying this, whatever context”.

Stella Creasey, the Labour MP for Walthamstow said:

“Its not OK. Even if meant as joke, reinforces menace that men have the physical power to force compliance- time for http://labourtoo.org.uk”.

A Number of Labour MPs Campaign for Freedom of Movement

A number of Labour MPs and trade union leaders have called on Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, to change Labour Party policy to support freedom of movement. A group has been created called the Labour Campaign for Freedom of Movement and supporters include Clive Lewis, David Lammy and Geraint Davies.

The MPs said:

“A system of free movement is the best way to protect and advance the interests of all workers, by giving everyone the right to work legally, join a union and stand up to their boss without fear of deportation or destitution. Curtailing those rights, or limiting migrants’ access to public services and benefits, will make it easier for unscrupulous employers to hyper-exploit migrant labour, which in turn undermines the rights and conditions of all workers”.

The Labour Party 2017 General Election manifesto pledged to end freedom of movement in 2019, although the party hasn’t announced what system would replace it.

Tatton Conservative Association Back George Osborne’s New Evening Standard Role

Tatton Conservative Association have given their backing to George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his new role as editor of the London Evening Standard.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Patty Goddard, the Association President, said:

“Everybody in the room was fully supportive of George, our MP, and he got a huge round of applause when he’d finished speaking. I was George’s chairman for four years and I know how hard this guy can work.

He’s got amazing stamina and he never ceased his duty to Tatton while he was chancellor of the exchequer, and I’ve no reason to believe that will change when he’s editing a newspaper four mornings a week. We all feel that he’s got the capability and the ability to do that, and we’ve every confidence in him.

It was so positive. I feel so pleased it happened that way. We thought there might be some problems, but none whatsoever. We did ask the questions and he answered them satisfactorily”.

Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, criticised the role when it was announced and said:

“There are real questions to answer, but Osborne has brazenly flouted the rules by applying for, accepting and announcing a new job before the ethics watchdog could investigate and sanction it. I would urge them to refuse permission for him to take up the role, at least until there is time to properly consider these questions”.

Osborne said in the House of Commons earlier in the week:

“In my view, Mr Speaker, this parliament is enhanced when we have people from all walks of life and different experience in the debate and when people who have held senior ministerial office continue to contribute to the debate”.

Labour MP Clive Lewis Attacks EU Migration Saying “it hasn’t worked for millions”

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Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, has criticised EU migration policy, saying that that “it hasn’t worked for millions of Britons”. Lewis, the Shadow Business Secretary, criticised previous migration policy saying to the Guardian newspaper:

“we have to acknowledge that free movement of labour hasn’t worked for a lot of people. It hasn’t worked for many of the people in this country, where they’ve been undercut who feel insecure, who feel they’re not getting any of the benefits that immigration has clearly had in our economy”.

Lewis’s comments are in opposition to reports published by organisations such as the LSE, who rejected that EU migrants had brought down the pay of UK workers.

Lewis did though seem to reject any fixed limit on immigration, and supported the UK’s membership of the single market. He said on immigration numbers:

“You don’t have to go down the path of talking about artificial barriers, which I think ultimately are going to harm the economy, and harm the very people who most need the economy to work for them”.

Jeremy Corbyn Conducts Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle with Diane Abbott as Shadow Home Secretary

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Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has reshuffled some members of the Shadow Cabinet, with further announcements expected later on.

Rosie Winterton has been sacked as the party’s chief whip after six years and will be replaced by Nick Brown, who held the role during Gordon Brown’s premiership. Diane Abbott has become the Shadow Home Secretary, replacing Andy Burnham who is running to become the Mayor of Manchester.

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti  becomes the Shadow Attorney General and Sir Keir Starmer becomes the new Shadow Brexit Secretary, despite Emily Thornberry trying to retain that as part of her role.

Sarah Champion becomes the Shadow Woman and Equalities Minister, Jo Stevens the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Jonathan Reynolds the Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury. Clive Lewis moves to become the Shadow Business Secretary, with his former role of Shadow Defence Secretary being taken by Nia Griffith.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Split on Trident Vote

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Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has rejected the advice of Clive Lewis, the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, and Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and pledged to vote against Trident.

In a joint article for the Guardian, Lewis and Thornberry wrote:

“Labour should not play this game. We should treat this government and this vote with the contempt they deserve. Moreover, there are clear principled and practical reasons why Labour MPs should refuse to vote with the government on Monday. They propose an open-ended commitment to maintain Britain’s current nuclear capability ‘for as long as the global security situation demands’. Such a vague, indefinite commitment precludes any possibility of Britain ever stepping down the nuclear ladder and contributing to global multilateral disarmament”.

Corbyn rejected the advice, saying to the Guardian:

“I will be voting against continuous at-sea deterrent, because it rules out any compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty”.