Campaigning is continuing for the London Mayoral elections which are to be held in 100 days. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, urged Londoners not to back Labour’s candidate, Sadiq Khan and instead to support Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate.
“Sadiq Khan nominated Jeremy Corbyn to be leader of the Labour party and he doesn’t regret it. Never mind the fact that he wants to give the Falklands back to Argentina or he thinks that nuclear submarines should patrol the Atlantic without any missiles.
“His policy is to bring back and legalise secondary strikes and flying pickets. Just think what the first Corbyn-elected Mayor would be like for our economy, for our city. You do not want to be lab rats in the first Corbyn economic experiment in public life”.
Sadiq Khan also spoke of his bid to become Mayor in the Daily Telegraph and rejected the leader’s view on Trident, saying:
“I’m quite clear that I can’t foresee any circumstances in which I would vote to unilaterally end our nuclear capability”.
Khan also rejected the idea of John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, to abolish the City of London Corporation. He said in an interview with City AM that:
“Any suggestion that the Corporation should be abolished is ridiculous and clearly not in the interests of London”.
Speaking to The Guardian, Caroline Pidgeon, standing for the Liberal Democrats, said that “morale is actually very, very good in the party”. She added that the party had more new members in the city than it had received for sometime.
The Mayoral elections will take place on 5 May 2016 and other candidates include Siân Berry (Green Party), Peter Whittle (UKIP), David Furness (BNP) and George Galloway (Respect Party).
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has called for unity in an article for the Guardian newspaper. The call has been over-shadowed by the resignation of Alison McGovern, the Labour MP for Wirral South, who has quite the party’s policy review group.
Corbyn said in the article:
“My election as Labour leader represented a deep-seated desire for change and for a new direction in our politics. It’s hardly surprising if some find that shift difficult to adjust to. But we will maintain a broad-based leadership, with space for a wide range of views and all the talents.
In reality, there is in fact now a greater Labour consensus on domestic and economic policy than at any period in my lifetime. Even on foreign and security policy, where differences have been sharper, the Syria debate last month showed there was a clear majority in every part of our party for opposition to Cameron’s bombing campaign”.
The Leader of the Opposition has yet to comment on the resignation of Alison McGovern. She told BBC’s Sunday Politics:
I’m there waiting to meet [John McDonnell] to talk about [child poverty and inequality] and all the while he’d gone to the TV studio to call the organisation that I am chair of ‘hard-right Conservative’, of having a hard-right Conservative agenda. That’s not OK. We are all Labour members and we believe in having a Labour government – that’s what we are, nothing more nothing less”.
The BBC has rejected a complaint from the Labour Party over how it handled the resignation of Stephen Doughty. Doughty was one of three Labour MPs who resigned from the Shadow Ministerial team earlier in the week in protest over the sackings of Shadow Cabinet Ministers by Jeremy Corbyn.
Seumas Milne, Labour’s Director of Communications, complained that the MP’s resignation was broadcast live on air before Doughty had tendered a letter of resignation to Jeremy Corbyn. Doughty said that he sent the letter to Corbyn before the interview but was concerned that he would be smeared by senior Labour figures so didn’t allow time for a response. Hours later John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, referred to Doughty as “part of a right-wing clique”.
Robbie Gibb, the editor of the Daily Politics, replied:
“As you know it is a long standing tradition that political programmes on the BBC, along with all other news outlets, seek to break stories. It is true that we seek to make maximum impact with our journalism which is entirely consistent with the BBC’s editorial guidelines and values”.
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has warned about potential threats to the economy. In a speech made in Cardiff he said “I worry about a creeping complacency in the national debate about our economy”.
The Chancellor warned of global pressures which could cause problems for the UK economy, saying:
“Last year was the worst for global growth since the crash and this year opens with a dangerous cocktail of new threats from around the world”.
He also warned of other threats such as increasing interest rates and falling oil rates.
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that Osborne was “getting his excuses in early” and said that Labour had been warning for months about the challenges of the global economy.
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been criticised for quoting Chairman Mao in his response to the annual spending review. It is thought that up to 60 million Chinese died due to the economic policies of Mao Tse-tung.
Chris Leslie, Labour’s previous Shadow Chancellor said after McDonnell’s comments that it was “a misjudged stunt”.
Chuka Umunna, Labour’s former Shadow Business Secretary said:
“I haven’t quoted a Communist before and I have no intention of doing so in the future”.
During questioning by the BBC McDonnell didn’t apologise but said about the former Chinese leader:
“I condemn all that”.
A poll for ComRes has shown that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party hasn’t experienced a honeymoon period as would usually be expected for a new leader. The Conservatives polled 42% (up 2%), Labour 30% (up 1%) giving the Conservatives an increased lead of 12%.
Asked about individual figures those polled named Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor, as those they least liked. 52% of those polled did though credit Jeremy Corbyn with increasing interest in politics.
John McDonnell has apologised on BBC’s Question Time for comments he made regarding the IRA and the peace process.
McDonnell had said:
“It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA. Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands, we now have a peace process.”
The comments had drawn widespread condemnation across the political parties and McDonnell said:
“I think my choice of words was wrong. I accept that”.
John McDonnell, the campaign agent of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership bid for the Labour Party, has confirmed that assets may be seized as part of a programme of renationalisation.
Corbyn has pledged to start with nationalisation of the energy and railway industries and McDonnell confirmed that assets may be seized without compensation. Asset holders include pension funds and charities but Corbyn has yet to comment further on the potential seizure. McDonnell said:
“A future Corbyn-led Labour government will reserve the right to bring them back into public ownership with either no compensation or with any undervaluation deducted from any compensation for renationalisation”.
The comments drew criticism from Labour MPs including Yvette Cooper, who is also standing for the leadership of the party. She said:
“You can’t confiscate assets and you can’t print money to pay for things because that has a much wider impact on the economy and confidence in the British economy”.
Chris Leslie, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, also expressed concern at the comments made by the Corbyn campaign team. He said:
“We have a right to know and, so far, I have not received an explanation”.