Back in 2006 Owen Smith fought (and lost) the Blaenau Gwent by-election. His campaign literature shows he was partial to a sweeping policy statement back then too. Smith pledged “action on sheep nuisance”, promising to “slap instant fines” on “irresponsible farmers” who let their sheep “stray onto roads and through gardens”. Smith’s hardline stance on “yobs, boy racers and drug pushers” earned him a celebrity endorsement from Ross Kemp, who called his opponents “soft on yobs”. Ten years on Kemp has backed the Saving Labour campaign to take out Corbyn. Will Oily be carrying his sheep and yobbo-bashing pledges into the leadership election?
Gerry Downing, who was expelled from the Labour Party after Guido revealed his rants about “the Jewish question”, has vowed to vote in the leadership election. Downing told LBC he will seek to vote as an affiliate member via his trade union. Marc Wadsworth, the Momentum activist who was suspended after abusing a Jewish MP, also says he will vote as an affiliate. Will Labour HQ try to block them?
Members of a private Facebook group which organised £25 payments for people to vote for Corbyn used an unsubtle code to disguise what they were up to. Thousands of Corbynistas signed up to the secret “Gimme 25 page” yesterday, all asking for the exact same sum, £25, to pay their “internet data” and other necessities by the exact same deadline, 5pm. The fee to vote in the Labour leadership election was £25 and the deadline was, you guessed it, 5pm. Guido has spoken to one source who joined the group and submitted a request £25 to vote for Owen Smith. The administrators of the group did not approve his post. Labour successfully shut down one group doing similar but last night large numbers claimed to have successfully had their votes paid for via “Gimme 25”. Good luck weeding them out, Iain McNicol….
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) July 21, 2016
There are many reasons to vote for a change of Labour leadership. Not having Diane Abbott on the radio every morning is just one of them…
— Michael Dugher MP (@MichaelDugher) July 21, 2016
Guido can reveal the existence of several new funds offering to help people pay the £25 charge to vote for Corbyn, after Labour yesterday shut down a Just Giving page doing the same thing. One private Facebook group named “Gimme 25” has amassed almost 3,000 members. It avoids explicitly saying that the money will pay for votes for Corbyn. But the intention is clear:
“Sometimes if you just had £25 to help towards something important it would make all the difference. There are many people who could probably spare £25 for someone who needs it much more than they do. This group is about bringing those categories of people together. Don’t think of it as begging, just think of it as direct socialism”
A second group named the “Hardship fund” claims to have raised almost £10,000:
Meanwhile Labour supporters have received unsolicited phone calls from Corbynista activists directing them to Facebook groups offering to pay the £25 charge. One Labour supporter says:
“Just got off the phone to a dude who offered to pay me 25 quid so I can go vote for Corbyn. He definitely got my number via ‘Momentum’, but it seems like a personal mobile. He suggested a few pages that are unofficially paying for peoples memberships, when I said I didn’t have the money.”
£25 is a small price to pay to Save Jez…
Theresa May was sounding an awful lot like the last female PM, she opened with a jibe: “In my years here in this house, I’ve long heard the Labour party asking what the Conservative Party does for women. It keeps making us Prime Minister.”
She was at her most Thatcheresque on Corbyn’s troubles:
“He refers to the situation of some workers who might have some job insecurity, and potentially unscrupulous bosses.
An astonishing piece of colour in Nick Watt’s Newsnight profile of Owen Smith:
“During his time as a BBC radio producer, he was once asked to get a police response to an unfolding crime story. Smith telephoned 999, prompting an official complaint from the Met.”
The man wants to be Prime Minister…[…]
Self-proclaimed “Barry boy” Owen Smith lived in a huge house in Surrey while he worked as an £80,000-a-year lobbyist for Pfizer, Guido can reveal. Despite his much-vaunted working class credentials, our pictures show the Labour leadership contender lived in a stunning four bedroom home in the desirable stockbroker belt village of Westcott.[…]
Topline figures from Ipsos MORI’s July political monitor might have made gloomy reading for Corbyn supporters. When asked whether or not they agree that Corbyn has what it takes to be a good Prime Minister, only 23% agreed, with 68% disagreeing, 6% impartial, and 3% “Don’t Know” (Eagle scored 21%, 40%, 15%, and 24% respectively).[…]
Opponents of Owen Smith complain that the Labour whips office has intervened to ensure he beats Angela Eagle’s number of nominations. Smith was spotted deep in discussion with whip and top schemer Conor McGinn yesterday – the pair are close and McGinn’s wife used to work for Smith as an aide.[…]
Owen Smith is hoodwinking people on the left of the Labour Party into believing he is one of their own. Nothing could be further from the truth. Smith’s nickname when he worked as a corporate lobbyist at Pfizer was “Oily Smith” because everyone was wise to his habit of telling people what he thought they wanted to hear. […]