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.

Rebecca Long-Bailey Confirms Labour Leadership Bid

Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed that she intends to stand as a candidate in the Labour leadership contest. Long-Bailey, the current Shadow Business Secretary, is the sixth person who has now entered the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

Writing in Tribune Magazine, Long-Bailey wrote:

“The election result was devastating. But with the climate crisis spiralling and the far-right on the march, we must regroup for the struggles ahead. Our task is to build a winning vision of a socialist future, and this task has never been more urgent.”

She added:

“Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn we’ve drawn upon the collective knowledge and experience of that movement to develop a radical, ambitious socialist vision for the future. This is our greatest strength, and we need a leader who comes from and will stay true to that movement.”

Keir Starmer Confirms He Will Take Part in Labour Leadership Contest

Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed that he intends to stand in the leadership election to replace Jeremy Corbyn. Starmer, the current Shadow Secretary of State for Brexit, wrote in the Sunday Mirror about his intentions to stand and unite Labour.

Starmer wrote in the article:

“I am proud of Labour as a movement of more than half a million members. We must use that strength and be visible in every community. We have a duty to relentlessly hold the Tories to account for their election promises.”

He added:

“I believe another future is possible, where everyone can live in a more equal and tolerant world. Some people say it’s going to take a decade before Labour can win a General Election. I profoundly disagree. As this new decade dawns, I believe we can unite the party, retain our values and win.”

Jeremy Corbyn Criticised Over New Year’s Message

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has been criticised for a New Year’s message which some felt didn’t mention the poor performance of the Labour Party at the 2019 General Election. Corbyn did though use the speech to call on members to form a resistance to help protect the NHS and public services.

Corbyn said:

“2019 has been quite the year for our country and for our Labour movement. And now we are not just entering a new year, but a new decade. And the period ahead could not be more important. It will be crucial if we are to stop irreversible damage being caused by the climate crisis and the particular effects it has on people in the global south. If we are to stop the pain plaguing our country, food banks, poverty and people struggling to get by. If we are to protect our precious NHS.”

Phil Wilson, the Labour MP who lost his seat at the General Election, posted on Twitter:

“No @jeremycorbyn, you are not part of the resistance to Boris Johnson you are one of enablers of Boris Johnson.”

Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, posted on Twitter:

“Labour isn’t a rent-a-mob protest party, or a ‘resistance’ but a potential Party of Government when led well. Corbyn’s team/message sank us to pre-war levels of representation. More poverty, homelessness & higher foodbank use will be the result. Join Labour to help us move on!”

Tom Watson Admits to Voting Against Corbyn in 2016 Leadership Election

Tom Watson, the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party who resigned before the General Election, has spoken to the Guardian newspaper about his decision. Watson said that he voted for Owen Smith during the 2016 Labour leadership and he also said that “brutality and hostility is real” in the party.

Watson criticised the move at the 2019 Labour party conference to abolish his position:

“I don’t think you could pre-empt such political idiocy and collective self-harm.”

Watson said for the first time that he voted for Owen Smith and not Jeremy Corbyn during the 2016 Labour leadership contest, adding:

“I thought, as soon as the leader loses the confidence of the parliamentary party it’s almost impossible to see how you can form a government. I thought Jeremy should have resigned, and he nearly did.”

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.”

Tom Watson Quits Parliament and Deputy Leadership of Labour Party

Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has unexpectedly stood down from the role and confirmed that he won’t be standing at the 2019 General Election. Watson said that he would continue to campaign for the Labour Party, saying “after 35 years in full-time politics, I’ve decided to step down and will be campaigning to overcome the Tory-fuelled public health crisis. I’m as committed to Labour as ever. I will spend this election fighting for brilliant Labour candidates and a better future for our country.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, posted on Twitter:

“Thank you @tom_watson for your service to our party and your constituents. I know you’ll continue to take on the vested interests of the Murdoch empire, big sugar companies and the gambling industry. This is not the end of our work together.”

Watson has held the deputy leadership role since 2015 and he has represented the constituency of West Bromwich East since 2001, securing a majority of 7,713 in 2017.

Zarah Sultana, Labour Candidate for Coventry South, Admits Hate Speech

Zarah Sultana, the newly selected Labour candidate for the constituency of Coventry South, has admitted and apologised for hate speech which she posted on-line.

Four years ago, Sultana posted on social media:

“Try and stop me when the likes of Blair, Netanyahu and Bush die”.

The Jewish Chronicle also reported that Sultana has previously called for violence by Palestinians when she corrected a post saying that instead of “non-violent resistance”, she meant “violent resistance”.

Sultana admitted the hate posts, but added:

“This was written out of frustration rather than any malice”.

The Labour Party has yet to comment on whether Sultana will be deselected.

Labour Party Win Peterborough By-Election

The Labour Party have won the by-election in Peterborough caused by the removal of Fiona Onasanya by a petition of constituents. The new MP is Lisa Forbes, who beat the second placed Mike Greene from the Brexit Party by 683 votes.

Fifteen candidates stood, with the top six being:

Labour Lisa Forbes 10,484 30.9 −17.2
Brexit Mike Greene 9,801 28.9 N/A
Conservative Paul Bristow 7,243 21.4 −25.5
Liberal Democrat Beki Sellick 4,159 12.3 +8.9
Green Joseph Wells 1,035 3.1 +1.3
UKIP John Whitby 400 1.2 N/A

Labour Party Expel Alastair Campbell

The Labour Party has confirmed that it has expelled Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former head of communications, for admitting that he had voted Liberal Democrat last week in the European elections.

Campbell posted on Twitter in a series of Tweets:

“1. Sad and disappointed to receive email expelling me from @uklabour – particularly on a day leadership finally seems to be moving to the right place on Brexit, not least thanks to tactical voting by party members, including MPs, councillors and peers who back @peoplesvote_uk .

2. I was not intending to publicise this at this stage, but have had calls from friends in the Party telling me it is now widely known and likely to be leaked. I have been advised by lawyers with expertise in this field I have grounds for appeal against expulsion and shall do so

3. I am and always will be Labour. I voted Lib Dem, without advance publicity, to try to persuade Labour to do right thing for country/party. In light of appeal, I won’t be doing media on this. But hard not to point out difference in the way anti-Semitism cases have been handled.

4. Plenty of precedent of members voting for other parties/causes. Some are now senior Party staff. Approach also contrasts with our era when TB was being pressed by whips to withdraw whip for JC and others for persistently voting against @UKLabour in Parliament, and he said No

To all the @UKLabour staff, MPs, peers and councillors who told me they were not voting @UKLabour fear not; as I believe in loyalty to the tribe, your secrets are safe with me”

Owen Smith, the Labour MP for Pontypridd, posted on Twitter:

“So we can’t expel anti-semites or people who openly advocate violence or voting for fringe hard-left rivals, but we can expel @campbellclaret because he voted Lib Dem – like 1000’s of other Labour members and voters last week? What a joke”

Tony Robinson, the television personality, posted:

“Blimey! Labour struggling for years to take disciplinary action against members accused of antisemitism but managed to expel Alstair Campbell for voting Lib Dem over the course of one Bank Holiday weekend. Amazing new efficiency!!”

The Labour Party said in a statement that:

“The support for another political party or candidate is incompatible with party membership”.