Wednesday, 8 April 2020

A New Day Has Dawned

Given all the big breaking news stories over the weekend I didn't get round to saying much about the new Labour leader, Sir Keith Starmer.

I'll get round to this in the days ahead, but I do think Starmer made a good start with his passionate commitment to get tough with the antisemitism in Labour's ranks.

"Antisemitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen the grief that it's brought to so many Jewish communities.

"On behalf of the Labour Party, I am sorry.

"And I will tear out this poison by its roots and judge success by the return of Jewish members and those who felt that they could no longer support us."

The sad truth is that Jeremy Corbyn could never have spoken these words or been taken seriously if he had promised to take such action.


Keir Starmer elected as new Labour leader

Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the new leader of the Labour Party.

The 57-year old defeated Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy in a ballot of party members, trade unionists and registered supporters and will succeed Jeremy Corbyn as opposition leader.

The lawyer, who became an MP in 2015, won on the first round of voting, with more than 50% of the vote.

He said his task was to "lead this great party into a new era, with confidence and hope".

In a video message released by the party, he said it was an "honour and privilege" to have been elected and he hoped Labour "when the time comes can serve our country again - in government".

Live: Reaction to Starmer victory
Profile: Sir Keir Starmer

The full results of the leadership contest were:
Sir Keir Starmer - 275,780 votes (56.2%).
Rebecca Long-Bailey - 135,218 votes (27.6%)
Lisa Nandy - 79,597 votes (16.2%)

Meanwhile, shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has been elected deputy leader. She defeated four other candidates but the contest was much closer, going to a third round of voting.

Sir Keir, the MP for Holborn and St Pancras, in London, had been the odds-on favourite to win the contest, having received the backing of more MPs and local Labour branches than his rivals as well as significant union support.

During the three month campaign, he argued he was best placed to unite the party and set it back on the road to power after its heavy defeat in December's general election - which prompted Mr Corbyn to say he would stand down.

Media caption - Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership in two minutes

He has described himself as a socialist but not a Corbynite, and vowed to keep key policies from the Corbyn era, such as nationalising rail, mail and water and repealing anti-union laws, in a 10-point plan.

But his first task will be to lead Labour's response to the coronavirus emergency, and he has been invited to take part in cross-party talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the government's top scientific advisers next week, to "work together" on the crisis.

'Constructive opposition'

Sir Keir said he had been elected "at a moment like no other" and promised to work "constructively" with the government to confront the pandemic and not engage in "opposition for opposition's sake".

But he added: "We will shine a torch on critical issues and where we see mistakes or faltering government or things not happening as quickly as they should we'll challenge that and call that out."

Sir Keir led the Crown Prosecution Service before entering frontline politics. He served in Mr Corbyn's top team for more than three years where he was responsible for the party's Brexit policy.

Saturday's result was announced by e-mail after plans for a public event were dropped due to the coronavirus crisis.

The outcome means that Labour's long wait for its first permanent female leader goes on - Harriet Harman and Margaret Beckett have both been interim leaders in the past.

In the deputy leadership contest, the 40-year old Ms Rayner beat Ian Murray, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Rosena Allin-Khan. The position has been vacant since Tom Watson stood down at the general election.

Jeremy the Jellyfish (08/11/19)

Things have come to a pretty pass when a lifelong party member and former Labour MP, Ian Austin, says that Jeremy Corbyn isn't fit to lead his party or the country.

"At every opportunity, he backs our country's enemies."

Former Labour Minister Ian Austin says he believes @JeremyCorbyn "isn't fit to lead" the Labour Party or to be PM, and urges voters to back the Tories instead.

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