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 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%

Government and CAA Launch Repatriation Scheme as Thomas Cook Collapses

The Government and the CAA have jointly launched a repatriation scheme to get tens of thousands of British holiday makers home, following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, said in a statement:

“Thomas Cook’s collapse is very sad news for staff and holidaymakers. The government and UK CAA is working round the clock to help people. Our contingency planning has helped acquire planes from across the world – some from as far away as Malaysia – and we have put hundreds of people in call centres and at airports.

But the task is enormous, the biggest peacetime repatriation in UK history. So, there are bound to be problems and delays. Please try to be understanding with the staff who are trying to assist in what is likely to be a very difficult time for them as well.”

Andrea Leadsom, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said in a statement:

“This will be a hugely worrying time for employees of Thomas Cook, as well as their customers. Government will do all it can to support them. I will be setting up a cross-government taskforce to monitor local impacts, will write to insurance companies to ask them to process claims quickly, and stand ready to provide assistance and advice.

I will also be writing to the Insolvency Service to ask them to prioritise and fast-track their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Thomas Cook going into liquidation.”

Rebecca Long Bailey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said in a statement:

“Thanks to the government’s failure to act, staff employed by Thomas Cook may face redundancy while holiday makers risk being left stranded overseas. The government must stop its recklessness and step in to avert this crisis by taking an equity stake.”

Honda Cut 3,500 Jobs in Swindon

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, has said that the announcement by Honda of 3,500 job losses is “devastating” and pledged Government help for the Swindon area. Honda said that the job losses weren’t Brexit related and was instead because of global market changes.

Clark said in a statement:

“Honda have announced, as part of a global restructuring, plans to close their Swindon plant in 2021; and instead manufacture and export the new Civic model into Europe from Japan. As Honda have said, this is a commercial decision based on unprecedented changes in the global market. Regardless, this is a devastating decision for Swindon and the UK.

This news is a particularly bitter blow to the thousands of skilled and dedicated staff who work at the factory, their families and all of those employed in the supply chain.

I will convene a taskforce in Swindon with local MPs, civic and business leaders as well as trade union representatives to ensure that the skills and expertise of the workforce is retained, and these highly valued employees move into new skilled employment.

The automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transition to new technology. The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now.”

Rebecca Long Bailey, the Shadow Secretary for Business, said in a statement:

“This is devastating news, first and foremost for Honda employees and their families, but also for the jobs across the supply chain and the impact on the local economy in Swindon.

This government has failed to create an environment of business confidence. The Tories’ austerity programme has failed workers and businesses, and they continue to show a total lack of vision or plans for investment in our future.

With Honda saying Brexit was not a factor, this Tory government shoulders yet more responsibility for failing to create an environment of business confidence. Businesses have lost faith in the government’s austerity programme and total lack of vision or investment for our future.”

Dyson Confirm Company’s Head Office to Move to Singapore from UK

Dyson have confirmed that they are moving their company’s Head Office from the UK to Singapore, in a move which they denied was linked to Brexit. Jim Rowan, the company’s Chief Executive, said that the move to Singapore would “make us future-proof for where we see the biggest opportunities.”

Sam Gyimah, the Conservative MP for East Surrey, said on Twitter:

“Dyson’s decision to move his HQ to Singapore reflects his narrow business interest. This is not just a transfer of two people. When HQs move, so does the intellectual property. Betrayal of the public who put their faith in him as a British business advocating a No Deal Brexit.”

Lord Adonis, the former Labour Cabinet Minister, also posted on Twitter:

“I see why Dyson is moving his HQ to Singapore. 3 months ago Singapore signed a free trade agreement with the EU – so Dyson will have more access to European markets from Singapore than from the UK!”

Rebecca Long Bailey, the Shadow Business Secretary, said in a statement:

“Dyson’s move to Singapore is a shocking blow to workers who now potentially face unemployment, but it is also a huge blow to the Government’s industrial strategy. For too long this Government has allowed a culture of short termism to work its way into some of our greatest British businesses, whilst those businesses doing the right thing and investing in their communities and workforce for the long term are left wanting, with little Government support. It’s about time we future proofed our long term industrial strategy instead of future proofing the short term profits of a select few.”

Labour Say Energy Cap is “Too Little, Too Late”

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, has said that the Government’s proposed cap on energy prices is “too little, too late”. The cap comes into force today, 1 January 2019, and OFGEM say that the new cap will save eleven million people an average of £76 a year.

In a statement, Long-Bailey said:

“This cap is too little too late. It is almost two years since the Prime Minister promised to cap energy prices and in the meantime families have been suffering. Labour warned that energy companies would hike up prices whilst the government dithered and delayed and that is exactly what has happened, with an unprecedented number of price rises in 2018.

Labour promised at the last election to introduce an emergency cap to keep average bills below £1,000, insulate 4 million homes to help reduce fuel poverty and repair our broken energy system”.