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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:03 am    Post subject: Labour mp's quitting cause of Corbyn ? Reply with quote

Tristram Hunt quits as Labour MP triggering by-election in 'Brexit capital of UK'

Tristram Hunt MP
Tristram Hunt MP

By Laura Hughes, Political Correspondent
13 January 2017 • 12:01pm

Tristram Hunt has quit as a Labour MP to become the director of the V&A museum in London, prompting a by-election in the 'Brexit capital of the country'.

Stoke-on-Trent Central recorded one of the highest proportion of those who voted for Brexit in the referendum. A total of 81,563 people in his constituency voted 'Leave' and just 36,027 voted 'Remain.'

Mr Hunt's office confirmed to the Telegraph that he will take up the position at the Victoria and Albert Museum later this year.

Mr Hunt, who refused to serve on Jeremy Corbyn's frontbench, held onto his seat at the 2015 election with just a 5,100 majority.

Labour secured just 39.3 per cent of the vote, followed by UKIP on 22.7 percent and the Conservatives with 22.5 per cent. The Tories were beaten into third place by just 33 votes.

In his resignation letter to Mr Corbyn, Mr Hunt said: “As a deeply patriotic British citizen, I believe our country needs a strong Opposition and credible, alternative Labour government.”

Nigel Farage, the former Ukip Leader, has told the Telegraph he has no intention to stand for the seat.

Mr Hunt's V&A appointment was signed off by Theresa May and the Culture Secretary Karen Bradley.

In his letter of resignation to members of his local party, he said: " The extraordinary privilege of serving in Parliament has proved both deeply rewarding and intensely frustrating.

"As I enter a new role as a public servant, I will be leaving partisan politics behind me and will work impartially as a museum director.

"I am sorry to put you, the party and the people of Stoke-on-Trent through a by-election. I have no desire to rock the boat now and anyone who interprets my decision to leave in that way is just plain wrong.

"I will always be Labour and forever grateful for the incredible opportunity which the Party gave me to work with you to serve the people of Stoke-on-Trent as their Member of Parliament."

Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland and a prominent critic of Mr Corbyn, said he was taking a job at the Sellafield nuclear power plant.

After Mr Reed's resignation Labour sources told the Telegraph that Mr Corbyn is facing more than a dozen resignations by MPs.

Paul Oakden, UKIP Chairman, said: The resignation of Tristram Hunt MP highlights the brighter future that many in the Labour Party feel they have away from Jeremy Corbyn and his brand of politics.

"We have no doubt that the example set by Mr Hunt will be one that many voters in Stoke-on-Trent will consider following in the upcoming by-election, where UKIP will be fighting hard to offer local people the committed representation they both need and deserve."

UKIP will confirm the selection of it's candidate on Saturday 21st January.

Announcing Mr Hunt's appointment, V&A Chairman Nicholas Coleridge said: “On behalf of the Trustees, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Tristram Hunt as Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

"He has a highly compelling mixture of experience across public life, the arts, history, education and academia, and knows our collections well from his writing and broadcasting.

"In addition, he is an informed and articulate leader and communicator on numerous facets of culture, both historic and contemporary, and I greatly look forward to working with him at the V&A.”

Reaction from MPs

Tristram Hunt's resignation letter in full

Dear Member of Stoke-on-Trent Central Labour Party,

This morning I write to you with the news that I intend, at next week’s CLP meeting, to tender my resignation as Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central.

It has been a profound privilege to represent The Potteries in Parliament over the last six and a half years. This has been a period of slow but steady resurgence for Stoke-on-Trent, after the post-industrial nadir of the early 2000s. In these years, I have been proud to see how our ceramic, engineering, technology, healthcare and higher education sectors have begun to revive. Our schools have improved in confidence, with a new Maths Excellence Partnership helping us attract and train enthusiastic young teachers. Stoke City has cemented its place in the Premier League and reached the F.A Cup Final. We now have the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival, the British Ceramics Biennial, and are bidding to be City of Culture 2021. Best of all, your hard work as local party members means we have eliminated the ugly politics of the BNP from the city.

Of course, these are achievements by the people of Stoke-on-Trent, not by their politicians. But I do I hope that my work in the Commons - alongside superb colleagues Joan Walley, Rob Flello, Paul Farrelly and now Ruth Smeeth - has helped in some way to contribute to that confidence and support the incredible endeavours of civil society across the city. But it is the constituency surgeries and local support which one can provide as an MP that can deliver the greatest job satisfaction: giving a voice to the marginalised, battling bureaucracy, marshalling influence for the overlooked. I will miss that opportunity to serve the people of Stoke-on-Trent when I stand down as an MP, but I am not saying goodbye to the city itself which will have a huge place in my heart and in what I do for as long as I live. The extraordinary privilege of serving in Parliament has proved both deeply rewarding and intensely frustrating. I am proud of my work in helping to save the Wedgwood Collection, secure tax breaks for the ceramics industry, scrutinise Government policy on the Constitutional Reform Select Committee, and help clean up London's laundering of dirty money on the Criminal Finances Bill. It took a while to get there, but I also believe the programme which myself, Kevin Brennan and the Shadow Education Team developed for the 2015 General Election was radical and right. Visiting schools and colleges in Stoke and across the country, meeting with teachers and parents and students, allowed me to see the remarkable commitment of English school leaders to their mission as educationalists. But also it highlighted the harrowing effects of poverty and inequality upon social mobility. These experiences will continue to drive me in my new position. The frustration, of course, came with the inability to address those factors and implement our policy programme following our defeat in 2015 – and, more broadly, about how the Labour Party should respond to the social, cultural and economic forces which have rocked mainstream social democratic and socialist parties from India to Greece to America.

There were very few jobs that would have convinced me to stand down as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, but the post of Director of the V&A – the world’s greatest museum of art, design and performance - is just that. It brings together all my lifetime passions of education, historical scholarship, meshing past with present, and public engagement. It also continues my connection with this wonderful city thanks to the V&A's ownership of the Wedgwood Collection, on show at the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston. The history of design, craftsmanship and technology which I have been taught by so many of you, in conversations in front rooms and pot banks across North Staffordshire, will serve me well in my new job. As I enter a new role as a public servant, I will be leaving partisan politics behind me and will work impartially as a museum director. I am sorry to put you, the party and the people of Stoke-on-Trent through a by-election. I have no desire to rock the boat now and anyone who interprets my decision to leave in that way is just plain wrong.

I will always be Labour and forever grateful for the incredible opportunity which the Party gave me to work with you to serve the people of Stoke-on-Trent as their Member of Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Tristram Hunt


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'We don't do Corbyn here': Labour activists fear defeat in Copeland by-election

Dec. 29, 2016, 11:47 AM

WHITEHAVEN, CUMBRIA — Labour campaigners were out in full force in Copeland this week amid the very real possibility that Jeremy Corbyn's party might surrender a seat it has controlled for nearly a century.

Last week, Labour MP Jamie Reed resigned as Copeland's MP, triggering a by-election which is expected to take place in February. In the past, it was a seat Labour could have banked on winning — having held it at every election since 1931 (under its previous name of Whitehaven).

But Copeland, a white, working-class stronghold on the Cumbrian coast six hours from London, is one of many rural seats Labour now risks losing. The Tories are currently the bookies' favourites to win here.

We travelled to Whitehaven, a small port town with a population that makes up most of the Copeland constituency. It has a communal feel. As you wander through the town people stop and chat to at least half the people they pass.

Like for other working-class communities in the north of England, one of the key issues is immigration. This was evident when Business Insider spoke to a number of campaigners and local councillors this week.

"If you go down Manchester way they don’t really notice it [immigration]," one local Labour councillor told us. "Up here they do, especially when you’ve got Mr Farage banging the drum. That’s why Nick Griffin got elected as the North West EU member. He got in on the pure fact that people here are scared to death of change."

He added: "When they were discussing the candidates [for local elections] the moment the possibility of two Workington people standing was mentioned they were all up in arms."

Workington is a town less than 10 miles north from Whitehaven up the Cumbrian coast. The councillor's comment, although accompanied by a chuckle, spoke of just how tightly-knit the area really is.

A Labour campaigner who we spoke to echoed the councillor's remarks. "We are a very closely-knitted community. We all know each other. You know when somebody is foreign," she said.

The Copeland Labour branch is yet to select its candidate for the upcoming by-election. Councillors told Business Insider that they expect the shortlist to be "eight to ten names long" and include both local hopefuls and candidates from outside the area.

But as we discussed who should succeed Reed, it became clear that the ideological divide that has stunted Labour at national level is also pushing the party to a precarious position at local level. There is a clear gulf in opinion between supporters of Corbyn and those more sympathetic to so-called 'moderates', or 'Blairites', like Reed.

Two activists who didn't want to be named told us they had joined Labour on the back of Corbyn's election as leader. One said it was the first time he had joined a party in over two decades, after years of feeling unrepresented by the ruling political class.

Momentum, the group set up to support Corbyn and his policies, enjoys an increasing presence in the area, too. A meeting was due to take place on Wednesday evening at the local rugby club for growing numbers of members.

Whitehaven harbour
Whitehaven is a small port town in west Cumbria.Adam Payne/Business Insider

But while Corbynism may steadily be on the rise in western Cumbria, it remains dwarfed by traditional Labour politics. "At the end of the day, we don't do Corbyn here," one councillor told us.

He added: "Ordinary people will vote for what they know. I can’t think of anything inspiring about Jeremy Corbyn. We voted for the Yvette Coopers and Andy Burnhams. Traditional, solid, sensible candidates. [Corbyn] won leadership elections and he’s the boss. But if he leads Labour to slaughter then he has to go. If he chooses not to go then all hell will break loose. What’s the point in a party if it can’t win elections?"

Asked whether he thinks "slaughter" awaits Labour at 2020, he said: "I couldn’t possibly comment. I’m an elected representative."

Reed, of course, is a well-documented critic of Corbyn. He described the leader as "reckless, juvenile and narcissistic" during a House of Commons debate on whether the Trident nuclear deterrent system should be renewed. "Jamie Reed is the most un-red man you’ve ever met in your life. He’s an SDP man," the councillor added.

Labour's main line of attack when it comes to fending off the Tory threat will be the NHS. The local West Cumberland Hospital has struggled to cope with the effects of austerity and is a big issue for local people.

One activist told us: "People will struggle to vote for the Tories here considering how the government has stripped away and underfunded the hospital. That really resonates with people around here. They are not gullible. The situation on our high street and in our hospital is because of the austerity we have had."

Another councillor said: "Jeremy Hunt has an almost messianic vocation in life to redo the NHS. I don’t actually know anyone who likes what’s happening to the NHS. They’re cutting back on funding for county council budgets and there’s no welfare money. The budgets are being butchered. Hit them on the health service. They can’t defend themselves."

Another reason some Labour members here are confident despite the projections of bookmakers is the size and enthusiasm of the party's ground campaign. Up until now, the Tories haven't exactly thrown money behind Conservative candidates in Copeland, while UKIP's resources in the north of the country have always been limited.

Copeland Labour
Labour activists campaigning in Whitehaven on Wednesday, December 28.Adam Payne/Business Insider

"We'll bury the Tories at that," a councillor said.

"I've been involved with campaigning for around 20 years and the Tories will have barely anyone up here on the ground. Yes, we are second favourites in the bookies but bookies make money from elections. We've been Labour here forever and we've seen massive growth in the local Labour party. We will out-march them."

But the prospect of Labour losing a seat that has been a consistent feature of the party's history is leaving many members understandably anxious. "The Tories were only 2,000 votes behind Jamie. I'm a bit nervous," one said.

Like many constituencies in this part of Britain, Labour's message is lost on some people who for years were loyal to the party. We spoke to a local man who had for decades backed Labour but due to "disillusionment" with them voted UKIP at the last election."The only politician worth anything on this earth is Donald Trump. If he does what he says he's gonna do then the world is going to be a better place," he told us.

Disenfranchisement was rife among residents of Whitehaven who spoke to us on Wednesday. "It doesn't matter who they are — it won't make a difference. They just promise things for the area and then do nothing," a pub owner said. "I couldn't care less [about the election] if I'm honest with you," a childhood friend of Jamie Reed said.

But these are the people Labour will have to convince if it is to avoid catastrophe and retain Copeland in the by-election. As a Leave-backing, white, working-class area in north-west England, it'll be a huge test of both Corbyn's leadership and just how relevant Labour still is to people living in areas like this. Right now, the Tories are licking their lips.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( although its still an uphill climb for the Uk conservatives as a government in the UK has not gained a seat from opposition during a by election since the 80's and labour seems to think a female candidate has a better chance )

Labour to choose from all-female shortlist for Copeland byelection

Cumbria’s woman of the year, a trained orthopaedic surgeon and a local councillor make shortlist to defend 2,500 majority

Jessica Elgot

Thursday 12 January 2017 18.13 GMT

Cumbria’s woman of the year, a local NHS campaigner and Labour’s former candidate in Penrith have made the all-female shortlist for the marginal Copeland byelection.

Rachel Holliday, Gillian Troughton and Barbara Cannon are the candidates shortlisted by a panel from Labour’s national executive committee, in a seat where the Conservatives need just 2,500 extra votes to win.

If Theresa May’s party took the seat, where a majority voted leave in the 2016 EU referendum, it would be the first byelection victory for a sitting government since the Mitcham and Morden constituency was won by the Conservatives in 1982, when the sitting Labour MP resigned to join the SDP.

The Copeland byelection was triggered by the resignation of Jamie Reed, a prominent critic of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who quit before Christmas to take a communications role with Sellafield, stating a desire to be closer to his family.

The campaign will be masterminded by Labour MP Andrew Gwynne, who ran the campaign that successfully saw off a strong challenge from Ukip in the Oldham and West Royton byelection last year.

One challenge will be establishing the Labour candidate’s pro-nuclear credentials, with Sellafield nuclear plant a key local employer. Conservative activists have already begun distributing leaflets with anti-nuclear quotes by Corbyn.

The selection panel of four included three NEC members with close ties to the leadership, Christine Shawcroft, Labour MP Jon Trickett and Unite’s Jennie Formby.

Corbyn’s office is understood to prefer Holliday, a local Unite activist named Cumbria’s woman of the year in 2015.

Holliday founded Time to Change in west Cumbria, a social enterprise that tackles homelessness, and Calderwood House hostel for the homeless. She also set up a local homeless football team, telling the local press she had a passion for the issue having been homeless herself during her teenage years.

Former Labour MP Thomas Docherty had also officially put his name forward to stand for the party but was not shortlisted. Born in Cumbria, Docherty was MP for Dunfermline and West Fife until he lost his seat in 2015.

Others on the NEC are thought to prefer Troughton, a trained orthopaedic surgeon and local councillor, because of the intention to focus the campaign on the NHS. Cannon, a councillor in Allerdale, has election experience, having stood against Conservative MP and international development minister Rory Stewart in Penrith and the Border in 2010.

Shortlisted candidates will attend a hustings in the constituency next week where the final candidate will be chosen.

On Thursday, the Liberal Democrats announced West Cumbria councillor Rebecca Hanson would be their candidate in the seat, where they received just 3.5% of the vote in 2015.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Conservatives have a huge lead over Labour;
January polling has then 13 and 14% ahead which is fairly consistent since the failed coup to oust Jeremy Corbyn by the Labour Party.


The Conservative lead isn't so much that Prime Minister May is doing an amazing job, but rather that Jeremy Corbyn is an unappealing option to many swing voters.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RCO wrote:
'We don't do Corbyn here': Labour activists fear defeat in Copeland by-election


Its not as dramatic as the article makes it seem.
Copeland has had a shifting demographic for a while and the Conservatives have been closing the historically massive gap over the last few elections.

Labour retained with just over 2000 votes in 2015;

If Corbyn is wildly unpopular in the riding than its possible the Conservatives grab it with a strong candidate, however I question how motivated anyone will be to vote in this election.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
RCO wrote:
'We don't do Corbyn here': Labour activists fear defeat in Copeland by-election


Its not as dramatic as the article makes it seem.
Copeland has had a shifting demographic for a while and the Conservatives have been closing the historically massive gap over the last few elections.

Labour retained with just over 2000 votes in 2015;

If Corbyn is wildly unpopular in the riding than its possible the Conservatives grab it with a strong candidate, however I question how motivated anyone will be to vote in this election.

think its just uncommon for a government to win or gain seats in by elections there , although we have seen a few take place here , the cpc gained a few seats in quebec as an example thru by elections

the Copeland riding , by Ontario standards we could compare it to a long held liberal seat in northern Ontario that all of a sudden shifts parties after being liberal for a long time , its sort of similar to that

the Liberal Democrats could also play spoiler if there support goes up at the expense of labour that could also easily shift the seat conservative

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeremy Corbyn under pressure from Labour MPs ahead of make-or-break by-elections

Adam Bienkov

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure from his MPsDan Kitwood / Getty

LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn last night faced a barrage of questions from Labour MPs concerned about the party's positions on immigration, nuclear power and Nato, as it readies itself for two tough parliamentary by-elections against the Tories.

The Labour leader told the weekly private meeting of the parliamentary Labour party that he was "confident" the party would triumph in the Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent by-elections.

However, MPs told Corbyn that Labour's "mixed messages" over immigration could cost them. The Labour leader last week said the party are no longer "wedded" to the concept of freedom of movement, before performing a series of U-turns on the issue.

Corbyn was also asked to clarify whether the party supports new nuclear power. The issue is seen as crucial to the result of the upcoming Copeland by-election where there are plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Moorside. The Tories have been plastering the constituency, which is host to the Sellafield plant, with leaflets quoting comments by Corbyn in which he called for the decommissioning of all nuclear power stations nationwide. The Labour leader told his MPs that the party would now support new nuclear stations "as part of the energy mix".

Corbyn visited Copeland last weekend but was not seen in public, leading to accusations from the Conservatives that he is viewed as "toxic" by Labour's campaign. A spokesperson for the Labour leader last night described these claims as "nonsense" and insisted that he had merely been visiting as part of a "listening exercise" and would return again this upcoming weekend.

Corbyn also faced questions from Labour MP Wes Streeting about his commitment to Nato, following reported comments by Corbyn's spokesperson which suggested the party would support withdrawing Nato troops from Estonia.

Shadow Defence Secretary and Corbyn ally, Nia Griffith was said to be "livid" about the comments. However Corbyn last night said that his spokesperson had been misreported and insisted there was no disagreement between himself and Griffith about the issue.

A "not especially inspiring" performance

A spokesperson for the Labour leader described the meeting as "very calm and friendly."Having covered a number of these in the past, there were certainly nothing like the fireworks seen in the run-up to last year's leadership election. At one such meeting, a Labour MP and a member of Corbyn's team almost came to blows in Parliament's committee corridor outside. Corbyn's emphatic victory in his second leadership election appears to have taken the sting out of these occasions.

Nevertheless, Labour MPs Business Insider spoke to last night seemed less than impressed with Corbyn's performance. One senior MP who attended the meeting described it as "not especially inspiring but no worse than usual".

Other MPs leaving the meeting described it, sarcastically, as "riveting" with one adding that "I'm sure it was much more interesting out here than it was in there."


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ukip is the main challenger in the Stoke-on-Trent by-election, former Tory minister says

By Christopher Hope, Chief Political Correspondent
15 January 2017 • 9:42pm

The UK Independence Party is the “main threat” to Labour in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, a former Tory minister has said.

Both Ukip and the Conservatives are preparing for a three-way scrap with Labour for the Midlands seat which is now vacant after Tristram Hunt quit to run the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

The two parties were effectively tied at the last election with Ukip only winning 33 more votes than the Tories. Both need an 8.6 per cent swing to beat Labour

But Esther McVey, who was an employment minister in the last Government, said Ukip had the best chance of winning the seat – which has been held by Labour for decades.

Ms McVey, who was Conservative MP for Wirral West from 2010 to 2015, was asked on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show if the Conservatives should “stand back and let Ukip try and win the seat?"

She replied: "In this instance I wouldn't have the Conservative party in second place, I would have Ukip, who would be the main threat here. Paul Nuttall, the leader, I think it would be a good seat for him to go for.

"If I was Paul Nuttall, this is the seat that I would be going for, this is where I would be putting all my ammunition and that could be a possible win and a terrible loss for Labour."

Labour won two-thirds of the vote at the 1997 general election, since when the party's share has declined gradually. Mr Hunt won just 39.3 per cent of the vote in 2015.

Both Ukip – which finished second in the seat at the 2015 general election – and the Conservatives need a swing of more than 8 per cent to take the seat from Labour.

A majority of voters in the city of Stoke-on-Trent voted Leave in the EU referendum – 69.4 per cent – the highest Leave vote of any city in the UK.

Mr Banks told The Telegraph he had urged Mr Nuttall to stand and “take the risk because it is a 70 per cent leave seat”.

Ukip will formally decide next this which candidate to field. Mr Nuttall told The Telegraph at the weekend: “I think we have got a very good chance of winning it. It will be a professionally run, hard fought campaign.

“We will be giving this one a good go. This is a seat that we have been looking at for quite a long time. It could kick-start Ukip’s move in working class communities.”

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said last week that for Ukip to win “we would need to get a big tactical vote from the Conservatives”.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Let's not blame migrants for our problems': Jeremy Corbyn is accused of being 'out of touch' after he AGAIN refuses to say immigration needs to come down

Labour leader again refuses to say that immigration levels are too high

Jeremy Corbyn denies he will be 'toast' if party loses Stoke-on-Trent seat

Tristram Hunt became latest moderate MP to quit parliament last week

Corbyn also complained that media treats him unfairly and made undiplomatic joke about Trump's hair

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 11:06 GMT, 15 January 2017 | Updated: 14:14 GMT, 15 January 2017

Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being 'out of touch' today after he again refused to say that immigration needs to come down after Brexit.

The Labour leader denied that levels of inflows were a problem - making clear that he thinks the only issue is exploitation of cheap labour from abroad.

The veteran left-winger also fuelled despair among Labour moderates by insisting he will not quit even if the party loses crunch by-elections caused by MPs abandoning politics.

Interviewed on the BBC's Andrew Marr show today, Jerey Corbyn again dismissed the idea of limits on immigration

The comments came in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, during which Mr Corbyn also complained the media was being too mean to him and made a highly undiplomatic joke about Donald Trump's hair.

Former shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt became the latest senior figure to announce he is leaving politics last week, opting to take a role running the Victoria and Albert museum.

Labour faces serious challenges from Ukip and the Tories in Stoke-on-Trent Central - which voted heavily for Brexit - and Copeland.

The votes are expected to be held on the same day in March in what could be a critical moment for Mr Corbyn's leadership.

He suffered a fresh blow today as a poll found voters had more trust in Theresa May to preserve the NHS.

On Tuesday Mr Corbyn's long-planned New Year relaunch collapsed within hours after he used interviews to reject the idea of limiting free movement - just hours after the party had briefed he would support the principle.

Asked directly today if he thought immigration should come down, Mr Corbyn replied: 'It will be part of the negotiations of access to Europe, if we have access to the single market there will be an issue surrounding that.

'What I have been talking about all along is ending the grotesque exploitation and the undercutting that goes on.

'Let's look at the issue of the flow of people in the context of access to the free market, but let's not blame migrants for the problems we have.

'Let's look instead at an economic system that has created these levels of inequality and injustice within our society.'

Struggling to explain the party's position, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said it would not 'die in a ditch' for the principle of free movement.

But she insisted membership of the European single market was more important.

'Labour's principle has always been that the economy is the most important thing,' she told ITV's Peston on Sunday.

The former Shadow Education Secretary is standing down as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central to take up a job running the Victoria and Albert Museum

The former Shadow Education Secretary is standing down as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central to take up a job running the Victoria and Albert Museum

'The first priority of any government is the safety and security of the citizens, the second most important priority is the economy.'

Tory MP Nus Ghani said: 'Once again, under repeated questioning, Jeremy Corbyn refused to say that immigration into Britain is too high. And his Shadow Foreign Secretary also said that getting control of the numbers coming here from Europe isn't a priority.

'Labour don't want to get control of our borders and are completely out of touch with ordinary working people. They do not speak for the concerns and aspirations of people in our country.'

The Labour leader trails the PM heavily on ability to handle the health service - traditionally the party's strongest issue - despite a week of furious attacks.

Even his allies have suggested that Mr Corbyn only has a short period of time to prove he can turn around dismal poll ratings.

But asked today if he would be 'toast' if Labour loses in Stoke, Mr Corbyn said flatly: 'No.'

He insisted the votes were an 'opportunity' to challenge the Tories on policies rather than a 'problem'.

Mr Corbyn was also pressed on his New Year relaunch, which reportedly includes a plan to emulate the populist approach of Mr Trump.

In a response that will not endear him to the incoming US commander-in-chief, who famously boasts a mop of blond hair, the left-winger joked: 'Is it the hair? I've got my own.'

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Labour would not 'die in a ditch' for the principle of free movement, but access to the single market was more important

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth last week voiced sorrow at Mr Hunt's departure, while former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the party was 'doomed'

Mr Corbyn moaned that the media were not being 'fair' towards him.

'I don't think the media are very fair in many ways, particularly towards the Labour party,' he said.

He suggested there should be a guaranteed 'right to reply' for everyone who was criticised in the press.

'I think we need a process where there is a right of reply; I think we also need to remove the levels of concentration of ownership,' Mr Corbyn explained.

'Murdoch taking over completely Sky, for example, is a problem. There is also a question of the BBC charter renewal. We would support the renewal of the BBC charter and the role of the BBC as an organisation that must educate, entertain and inform.'

A survey by ComRes for the Sunday Mirror and the Independent found 43 per cent thought the Tories would do a better job of managing the NHS this winter, compared to 31 per cent who backed Labour.

The party's poor showing came despite almost half of voters - 47 per cent - agreeing the Red Cross was right to say the NHS was in a 'humanitarian crisis'. The research was carried out between Wednesday and Friday last week.

A separate poll by Opinium for Observer found 30 per cent trusted the Conservatives most to deliver a successful Brexit, compared with just 13 per cent for Labour and 11 per cent who cited Ukip.

Some 36 per cent of respondents said they did not trust any of the main parties or did not know.

On immigration, 22 per cent had most faith in the Conservatives to introduce a more rigorous system.

Ukip was second on 17 per cent and Labour third on 14 per cent.

On Tuesday Mr Corbyn's long-planned New Year relaunch collapsed within hours after he disowned claims he would attempt to limit free movement.

He also announced, and then abandoned shortly afterwards, a proposed salary cap, before announcing hikes to taxes on the middle class.

There is speculation that a dozen MPs could quit the Commons early anticipating a Labour bloodbath when the next general election comes.

But asked what the resignations meant for his authority, Mr Corbyn said: 'I haven't lost control of the party.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the UK would do whatever it takes to 'regain competitiveness' if it is denied a good trade deal

'The party isn't out of control. We are a very large party with a growing membership, we have a vibrant policy-making process. We have a party which is very active.'

He added: 'I'm not expecting any other MPs to resign.'

In spite of the brickbats, shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed it had been a 'pretty good' week for Labour.

Asked whether Mr Corbyn would stand down if the polls show no signs of improvement before the next general election, Mr McDonnell told Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News: 'It's not going to be the situation before the next election, it's not, it's not.'

In his interview today, Mr Corbyn sharply criticised a warning by Chancellor Philip Hammond the Government could retaliate by slashing corporation tax if UK firms faced new tariff barriers outside the EU.

'It seems to me a recipe for some kind of trade war with Europe in the future. That doesn't really seem to me a very sensible way forward,' he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

He said the Prime Minister's negotiating strategy risked damaging British exporters.

'She appears to be heading us in the direction of a bargain basement economy on the shores of Europe where we have low levels of corporate taxation, we will lose access to half our export market,' he said.

'It seems to me an extremely risky strategy. There needs to be more discussion, more consultation and recognise that there is a close co-operation with Europe that is going to have to continue when we are outside the EU.'

Mr Corbyn confirmed that Labour would not seek to block the Government from triggering Article 50 - marking the start of the formal two-year negotiating period - but indicated it could seek to ally with MPs from other parties in the Commons to influence what shape Brexit takes.

'The Brexit vote isn't a one-off thing. It has got to be agreed by 27 national parliaments, it has got to be agreed by the European Parliament. There is quite a long way to go on this,' he said.

'It is going to have to keep coming back to the House of Commons and we will make sure it does keep coming back to the House of Commons. We will keep on pressing the Government on this.

'There are MPs in all parties that must be concerned about the future of industries in their constituencies, must be concerned about the future trade relationships we have.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....z4W1mzJ8EV

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Copeland Labour rejects Jeremy Corbyn's candidate for crucial by-election

LONDON — Gillian Troughton will stand for Labour in the crucial upcoming by-election in Copeland.

The Copeland Labour Party selected Troughton on Thursday evening after the local councillor took part in a hustings with fellow candidates Rachel Holliday and Barbara Cannon.

Troughton, an ambulance driver and former doctor, defeated runner-up Holliday by around 20 votes, Business Insider understands. 170 local party members voted in the contest, which is around a third of the eligible electorate.

Holliday, a homelessness expert who won the Cumbria Woman Of The Year award in 2015 for charity work, was the leading candidate to stand in the by-election according to multiple reports and was the preferred choice of Jeremy Corbyn's office. Corbyn will be in Cleator Moor, Copeland this weekend to kick-start the campaign. His head of communication, James Schneider, was in Cumbria to attend the hustings.

However, as Business Insider reported earlier this month, local party members were leaning towards Troughton long before last night's announcement. She is a seasoned councillor who is popular and well-known among local people. "She's local... She has a strong handle on the big issues in the seat," one local activist told us before Christmas.

Early speculation suggested that the by-election in west Cumbria would take place in May in order to coincide with nationwide local elections. However, it is now set to take place on Thursday, February 23, alongside the Stoke-on-Trent central by-election, according to a Sky News report. This was all but confirmed by a source close to the Copeland Labour Party last night, who told us: "I'd put money on February 23... They're moving the writs tomorrow."

Copeland, like Stoke, will be a major test of Labour's relevance in its traditional, working-class heartlands. The Tories are odds on to win the seat (54%), which has been controlled by Labour since 1931, according to the Smarkets exchange. The Leave-supporting constituency is in the furthest reaches of north-west England, over 300 miles away from metropolitan London. Immigration is a key issue here, amidst a general feeling of being neglected and left behind by Westminster politicians.

As expected, Troughton plans to make the NHS the central issue in her campaign. The local West Cumberland Hospital has been ravaged by cuts in recent years, with key local services struggling to cope. "This election is a choice between allowing the Tories to strip NHS services away from Copeland, and sending them a message that it's unacceptable," she said after being chosen on Thursday night.

She added: "This is where my family make their living. My husband works in the nuclear supply chain, so I know how important the industry is to thousands of Cumbrians. I’m pro-nuclear; no ifs, no buts. Moorside is a fantastic opportunity; I’ll make sure our community gets what it deserves.

"This is where I raised my children. Copeland has given them so many opportunities. That is why I have spent the last few years campaigning for it. I’m looking forward to campaigning for Copeland in Westminster."

The Labour MP for nearby Workington Sue Hayman will be Troughton's aide, while MP Andrew Gwynee is overseeing the campaign in west Cumbria.

The by-election will be formally triggered as soon as outgoing Labour MP Jamie Reed officially resigns from his post. Reed was first elected as Copeland's in 2005 but is leaving Westminster politics to take up a role in the local Sellafield nuclear plant. He chose to vote for Holliday on Thursday evening, Business Insider understands.

The issue going forward for Troughton's campaign will be how closely she chooses to associate with Corbyn. She backed Owen Smith in the party's last leadership election and is widely regarded as a moderate by local party members. Plus, with so many local jobs being dependent on the nearby Sellafield nuclear plant, the Labour leader's anti-nuclear stance makes him a divisive figure in Copeland, among Labour voters and the wider public alike.

Labour activists who we spoke to when we visited Whitehaven before Christmas said they were prompted to return to the party by the election of Corbyn as the party's leader. However, not all shared this enthusiasm, and others were openly hostile to the leadership of the veteran socialist. "We don't do Corbyn here," one local councillor said.

Former Labour MP and shadow deputy leader of the Commons Thomas Docherty had put his name forward to fight for the Copeland seat but didn't make it onto the final shortlist. This perhaps wasn't a huge surprise given the preference of local members to select someone who lives in the area rather than parachute in a bigger name.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first poll since May's Brexit speech gives the Tories a massive lead of 17%

Adam Payne

Jan. 19, 2017, 10:04 AM

LONDON — The Conservative Party enjoys a 17% lead over Labour following Theresa May's landmark Brexit speech, according to a new YouGov poll for the Times newspaper.

May's party is in an incredibly comfortable position. 42% said that they plan to vote for the Tories at the next election, up three per cent from YouGov's last poll, while Labour has slumped by three per cent, to 25%.

To put the nature of the Tory lead into context, the party led Ed Miliband's Labour by just three per cent in a poll published at this stage in the last electoral cycle, meaning the party is currently 14% better off.

Furthermore, research by academic Matt Goodwin and others suggests that Labour must lead the Tories by at least 12% in order to form a majority at the next election. On this basis, Corbyn's Labour is 29% points behind where it needs to be. As the chart below shows, the Tories have consistently enjoyed big leads over Labour since the summer.

UK voter intention polls Business Insider/UK Polling Report data

In her speech in Westminster on Tuesday, the prime minister outlined her vision for a "global Brexit" which would embark on a hard divorce from the European Union but remain a "best friend" to the 28-nation bloc. Her government intends to take Britain out of the single market, customs union, and European Court of Justice (ECJ).

May's vision for a "global Britain" was received well by Brits. Over half (55%) said the prime minister's Brexit plan would be good for Britain, with just 19% saying it wouldn't. A clear majority of respondents have faith in May to deliver on her plan when it comes to negotiations, too. Nearly half (47% ) told YouGov they had "a fair amount/a lot" of confidence" in May to secure the deal she wants in Brexit negotiations, with 28% having little or no confidence.

YouGov Theresa May Brexit speech poll YouGov

A major takeaway from May's speech was her uncoded warning to Brussels that giving Britain a bad deal would harm the interests of the 28-nation bloc. She said:

"Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe. Yet I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path.

"That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend. Britain would not – indeed we could not – accept such an approach. And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise – while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached – I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain."

Brits appear to agree. Asked who needs who more, 34% said that the EU needs the UK more, compared to just 19% who claimed that the UK needs the EU more. May's confidence, although viewed as bullish and unrealistic by many Remainers and observers elsewhere in Europe, is shared by a large number of British people.

Here is how voter intention broke down:


LABOUR: 25% (-3)

UKIP: 12% (-1)



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Labour announces double by-election for February 23

In what is being seen as an attempt to stretch Ukip's campaign resources, Labour will hold both the Stoke Central and Copeland by-elections on the same day

Tom Peck |

The Labour Party has put plans in place for a double by-election, with the party announcing it intends to move the writs to allow the Stoke Central and Copeland by-elections to take place on February 23rd.

Both seats have been left vacant by the resignations of Tristram Hunt in Stoke and Jamie Reed in Copeland.

It expects to face significant challenges in both places, from Ukip in Stoke and the Conservatives in Copeland.

Jamie Reed is to take up a job in the nuclear industry. Mr Hunt has quit to become director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said: “Labout intends to move writes for Copeland and Stoke by-elections on Monday with polling day expected to be 23 February.”

Labour won a large majority in Stoke Central in the 2015 by election, even if turnout was the lowest in the country, but the constituency voted 66 to 33 to leave the European Union. In Copeland they lead the Conservatives only by a few thousand.

Governing parties winning by-election seats from the official opposition are almost unheard of, the last such incident taking place in 1960, when the Conservatives won Brighouse and Spenborough from Labour


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conservatives pick Copeland and Stoke by-election candidates

25 January 2017

From the section England

Jack Brereton and Judy Harrison will represent the Conservatives in Stoke and Copeland

The Conservative Party has chosen its candidates for two by-elections.

Jack Brereton, 25, will stand in the Stoke-on-Trent Central election triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Tristram Hunt.

Meanwhile, Trudy Harrison, 40, who lives in the village of Bootle where she was a parish councillor for a number of years, will stand in Copeland.

The by-election was called following the resignation of Labour's Jamie Reed.

Mr Reed said he was stepping down to take a job at the Sellafield nuclear plant while Mr Hunt has taken up a director's role at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Analysis: Gavin Stamp, political reporter

The Conservatives are quietly confident of doing well in both Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central, places that were once safe Labour seats but are now seen as being in play in the volatile Brexit climate.

In choosing a candidate for the west Cumbrian seat who has worked at Sellafield, the Conservatives are making a statement of their support for the nuclear industry, the constituency's largest employer.

If he were to win, the Conservative candidate in Stoke - 25 year-old Jack Brereton - would become one of the country's youngest MPs, although he already has plenty of experience having served on the local council for five years.

The party finished third in the seat in the 2015 election and faces a strong challenge from UKIP, whose leader Paul Nuttall is standing, as well as a Labour Party who on Wednesday evening chose former Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council leader Gareth Snell as its candidate.

Ms Harrison said she would campaign on supporting the local nuclear industry and backing the UK plans to leave the European Union.

"Copeland has had Labour MPs and Labour Councils for years," she said.

"They've ignored us and failed to deliver the jobs, infrastructure and services we need, and now they want to ignore how we voted in the referendum."

Mr Brereton, who was elected to represent the Baddeley, Milton and Norton ward on Stoke-on-Trent City Council in 2011, said: "This by-election has come at a crucial time for our country.

"It is an opportunity for the people of Stoke to send a message that the referendum result must be respected, and to back the Prime Minister's clear plan to make a success of Brexit."

Voting in both constituencies takes place on 23 February.

The other candidates so far declared in Copeland are:

Liberal Democrats: Rebecca Hanson

UKIP: Fiona Mills

Labour Party: Gill Troughton

The other candidates in Stoke are:

Liberal Democrats: Zulfiqar Ali

Christian Peoples Alliance: Godfrey Davies

UKIP: Paul Nuttall

Labour Party: Gareth Snell


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UKIP BOOST: Paul Nuttall now ODDS-ON favourite in Stoke by-election after £10k donation

PAUL Nuttall's push to win the Stoke Central by-election was gaining momentum last night as a donor gave the campaign £10,000 to pay for hotel rooms for Ukip volunteers.

By David Maddox

PUBLISHED: 10:30, Sat, Jan 28, 2017 | UPDATED: 10:42, Sat, Jan 28, 2017

Paul NuttallLNP

Mr Nuttall's push to win the Stoke Central by-election is gaining momentum

The Ukip leader, who took over from Nigel Farage in November, has been made the odds on favourite to take the Labour stronghold by bookmakers as he officially opens his campaign office in the city saturday.

Plans have also been drawn up for Mr Farage to join Mr Nuttall in a major rally in the heart of the constituency.

The by-election, which will take place on 23 February, was called after Labour moderate Tristram Hunt quit politics to run the V&A Museum in London leaving the party to defend a majority of 5,000.

I've never taken a donation like that for a by-election before. It will really help us have a go at winning this seat

His resignation was a sign of the despair most Labour MPs have over Jeremy Corbyn's hapless far Left leadership and a belief that the party could be out of power for a generation and may never recover.

With Stoke dubbed the “Brexit capital" after almost 70 per cent of voters backed Leaving the EU, Mr Nuttall's message of making Ukip “the party of the patriotic working class" has gone down well in the city.

In contrast Labour have picked a Remoaner candidate Robert Snell who described Brexit as “a pile of sh**".

The outspoken Labour councillor who has been shipped in from Newcastle-under-Lyme also has attacked his own leader, describing Mr Corbyn as “an IRA supporting friend of [Islamic terrorists] Hamas."

The selection appears to underline the chaos and divisions in the Labour Party over Brexit as hard line Remoaner MPs try to force the leadership to oppose triggering Article 50.

The offer of £10,000 to pay for hotel rooms for activists comes as hundreds of party volunteers have got in touch to help Mr Nuttall pull off an historic victory which would create another earthquake in British politics.

Stoke Central has been held by Labour since 1950.

Party chairman Paul Oakden said: “I've never taken a donation like that for a by-election before. It will really help us have a go at winning this seat."

Mr Nuttall has told the Daily Express that there is “a new enthusiasm" in Ukip among members.

He said: “We have a renewed sense of purpose to make sure the job is done properly on Brexit and we're the only party who can be relied upon to deliver what the clear majority of people voted for including many thousands here in Stoke."

He went on: “It's still a tough ask to win in Stoke but if we do win here then I believe the floodgates will open because it will show we can win these seats from Labour in the North and Midlands.

“It is being suggested that more Labour MPs are going to quit and that will provide more opportunities for us."

Mr Nuttall has made it his aim to replace Labour in its traditional heartlands.

On Saturday he also writes in the Daily Express to dismiss myths put about by Labour that Ukip wants to privatise the NHS.

If Mr Nuttall wins on 23 February it could be a double humiliation for Mr Corbyn with the Tories widely tipped to win in Copeland on the same night where another moderate Labour MP Jamie Reed quit


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watch out UKIP! Embarassing moment Corbyn arrives in Stoke... then RUNS from interview

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn arrived in Stoke-On-Trent today to support his party's candidate in the upcoming by-election, before running from reporters requesting an interview.


PUBLISHED: 13:56, Sat, Jan 28, 2017 | UPDATED: 16:57, Sat, Jan 28, 2017

The Islington MP had earlier hit the streets to go door-knocking with Labour's Parliamentary hopeful Gareth Snell - who has already run into controversy for a Tweet he sent last year deeming Brexit a "massive pile of s***".

The Labour leader also met local councillor Candy Chetwynd and cradled her 17-week-old daughter Aurelia.

But he beat a hasty retreat when Press Association reporter Alex Britton asked him about previous tweets of Mr Snell's, when he described the Labour leader as "an IRA-supporting friend of Hamas career politician".

Filming the encounter, Mr Britton first asked why he had been declined an interview request with Mr Corbyn, before button holing him over the Labour by-election candidate's previous comments.

Walking briskly to a waiting car, Mr Corbyn replied: "we've done lots of interviews and we're having a great campaign, thanks."

Asked about Mr Snell's Hamas comment, which he tweeted ahead of last year's Labour leadership election, Mr Corbyn replied: "The candidate and I are great friends and we've been knocking on doors together, we're very happy."

The decision to select Mr Snell to fight the a by-election a constituency where almost 70 per cent of voters opted for Brexit has been met with bewilderment by many.

After June's referendum result, the Newcastle councillor tweeted a four line poem condemning Britain’s vote to leave the EU

The poem, which he tweeted in September, said:

“Soft Brexit, Hard Brexit

"Massive pile of S***

"Sloppy Brexit, Messy Brexit

"Quit, Quit, Quit.”

On Wednesday he tweeted to confirm he “won’t frustrate the triggering of Article 50” if elected and said “Brexit has to work for the potteries”

r Snell is fighting to retain the Labour-held seat of Stooke-On-Trent in the face of strong competition from UKIP leader Paul Nuttall.

In contrast to Mr Corbyn's terse response to journalists, the UKIP candidate has been far more effusive.

Mr Nuttall, who is hoping to become UKIP's second MP, told PA: If you want someone in the House of Commons to champion Brexit - real Brexit, controlling our borders, controlling our money, controlling our finances - you go out and you vote Ukip in this election."

The by-election was called after sitting MP Tristram Hunt quit to become director of London's V&A museum

Mr Nuttal added: "I think the people of Stoke have gradually clocked on that the Labour party doesn't necessarily have their best interests at heart.

"Tristram Hunt, (his) majority was only 5,000 last time round, and that was pre-Corbyn and pre-Brexit, so we are going into this quite confident that we can pull off a shock.

"I think it's going to be tight. I think we're definitely in the game, the bookies have got us down as the slight favourites in this.

"We're running a professional campaign, there's a real buzz around the place and we're taking this election very seriously indeed."

Mr Nuttall claimed Labour were "all at sea" and "a mess" over the Brexit issue, predicting more front-bench resignations in the coming days.

He said: "If you want someone in the House of Commons to champion Brexit - real Brexit, controlling our borders, controlling our money, controlling our finances - you go out and you vote Ukip in this election."

The by-election will be held on February 23, the same day as another contest in Copeland which was triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Jamie Reed.

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