An email from “Judith” over Tom Watson’s threats to the Labour leadership poses a particular highlight in Cameron’s last PMQs against Corbyn. The buoyant PM looks raring to go…
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. Here are some of the things he has said in the past…
In an interview with the Western Mail, 10 May 2006, on Iraq, Smith said:
“We are making significant inroads in improving what is happening in Iraq. I thought at the time the tradition of the Labour Party and the tradition of left-wing engagement to remove dictators was a noble, valuable tradition, and one that in South Wales, from the Spanish Civil War onwards, we have recognised and played a part in.”
Yet today Smith claimed he was against the Iraq war:
He supported NHS privatisation:
“Where they can bring good ideas, where they can bring valuable services that the NHS is not able to deliver, and where they can work alongside but subservient to the NHS and without diminishing in any respect the public service ethos of the NHS, then I think that’s fine. I think if their involvement means in any way, shape or form the break up of the NHS, then I’m not a fan of it, but I don’t think it does.”
And even welcomed PFI:
“We’ve had PFI in Wales, we’ve had a hospital built down in Baglan through PFI. If PFI works, then let’s do it. What people want to see are more hospitals, better services. City academies in certain parts of inner city Britain, where schools were failing, where children were not being well served, have made great inroads. I’m not someone, frankly, who gets terribly wound up about some of the ideological nuances that get read into some of these things, and I think sometimes they are totally overblown.”
Last year Owen Smith accepted the need for austerity:
“I don’t think it’s realistic to say that they [public spending cuts] are wholly unnecessary. There is a very serious point that we don’t know what would happen to a government that failed to tackle its debts in the long run.”
He went further in the Sunday Express, writing of the deficit that the Labour Party had “…. to acknowledge that when people asked the question, “Did we spend too much?” it wasn’t enough to simply say, “No.” There was a debate to be had, a record to defend and some failings to acknowledge. And our refusal to take that head-on, to ’fess up to shortcomings, was a key reason why people baulked at putting us back in charge.”
“Oily” Smith’s Blairite past is something that will make the now overwhelmingly left-wing membership uncomfortable…
Barriers and police were deployed at Labour HQ to protect National Executive Committee members from their own support base. According to conspirators, 100 protesters gathered at the HQ, with some trying to storm the rear entrance to confront NEC members being ushered in. The NEC are deciding on whether or not to allow Corbyn automatically onto the ballot. Sure that will do their man a lot of favours…
UPDATE: Not a Guido “scoop”, got it from Laura Kuenssberg’s Twitter feed.
UPDATE: Labour NEC votes 17/15 for a secret ballot on whether or not Corbyn should be automatically nominated. Corbyn apparently refusing to leave.
Owen Smith is launching his Labour leadership bid in the next few days. “Who he?” Guido hears you ask. Owen is a career politico who has never had a real job outside politics or the media. Those who know him say the man now pitching himself as the soft left candidate used to be “more Blairite than Blair”, running on a right-wing Labour ticket in 2006. He seems to be Labour’s answer to Alan Mak, as one friend puts it: “he’s been in every single faction in the Labour Party”. And what about his much-vaunted working class credentials? When he began lobbying the government for Pfizer the self-proclaimed Barry boy moved his family to the Surrey stockbroker belt. His CV makes Andy Burnham look in touch…
1986: Joined Labour at 16.
1992: Graduated from Sussex University.
1992-2002: BBC radio producer for shows like Today.
2002-2005: SpAd for Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy.
2005-2008: Head of Government relations for Pfizer.
2006: Lost Blaenau Gwent by-election.
2009-2010: Candidate for Pontypridd, Wales.
2010: Elected to parliament.
2012-2015: Shadow Welsh Secretary.
2015-2016: Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.
The Barry boy claiming to be the unity candidate who’ll win over Corbynistas is really a Blairite careerist who’s never had a real job…
Andrea Leadsom has admitted making “misleading” claims about her City career to today’s Times, following up a story questioning her credentials on Iain Martin’s new site Reaction. Andrea’s campaign chief Penny Mordaunt has just been on the Today programme attacking the article as “bogus” and insisting she had a “stellar” banking career. This isn’t the first time an ambitious Tory has been accused of talking up their City CV – remember Sajid Javid last year. Leadsom’s main obstacle is clearly going to be questions over her experience. Guido fact: she has more actual ministerial experience than David Cameron did before he became Tory leader…
At last! Angela Eagle says she is ready to challenge Jez:
“There are many people asking me to resolve this impasse and I will do so. I have the support and I will do if he doesn’t act.”
Owen Smith is briefing that he has more numbers. Labour plotters have long believed this will only work if they can agree on one challenger. Clowns can’t even agree on a single candidate…
Pro-Corbyn supporters are jumping on Cameron’s call for Corbyn to “go“. Dave looked like he was being sincere but has he made it harder for Labour to get rid?
Ed Miliband has now called for Corbyn to go – no Shadow Cabinet job for him then. Momentum have curiously cancelled their “Keep Corbyn” event tonight “due to overwhelming demand”, which is odd. The manoeuvring John McDonnell meanwhile has a “major” speech lined up for Friday morning. Team Corbyn are under no illusions what that means…
Here we go, rolling resignations and other Labour Party news:
- 18:48 Liz McInnes resigns as Shadow Communities and Local Government Minister.
- 17:06 Kevin Brennan stands down as Shadow Business Minister.
- 17:27 Clive Efford quits as Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Minister.
Corbyn supporters have besieged Labour MPs in Parliament, with an ongoing protest in Parliament Square attempting to save Jez. Speaking at the event was a particularly fuming Paul Mason, formerly of Channel 4 News:
“We need 100 potential new MPs from all these young people, all these women, all these members of ethnic minority groups, disabled people, gay people.
Blair tells Bloomberg:
“I’m accused of being a war criminal for removing Saddam Hussein — who by the way was a war criminal — and yet Jeremy is seen as a progressive icon as we stand by and watch the people of Syria barrel-bombed, beaten and starved into submission and do nothing…
There’s a guy whose face is on the placard.
In another bizarre intervention Ken Livingstone has predicted on Putin’s Russia Today that John McDonnell will succeed Jeremy Corbyn should the Labour leader have a stroke or get “pushed under a bus driven by Boris Johnson”. Well at least it won’t be a bendy bus…
Coincidently Guido has £1,000 riding on McDonnell being next Labour leader.[…]