Burnham Swerves ‘Continuity Miliband’ Meet

Last week Andy Burnham’s team were forced to deny that Neil Kinnock is helping out with his leadership campaign after the pair were spotted sharing a cuppa. They are taking no chances with another failed Labour leader.

The rumour going round Labour wags is that Burnham has politely declined an offer from one Ed Miliband to meet in his office for a private chat, fearing news of a meeting would quickly get out as he shares a building with Liz Kendall.

‘Don’t call us, Ed, we’ll call you…’

Mili No Mates: An Occasional Series

First he was in PCH by himself.

Then alone on the slow train to Bedford.

This lunchtime Ed Miliband has been snapped by a parliamentary co-conspirator: “standing by himself in the middle of the atrium weirdly walking around. People were looking at him with the expression of ‘WTF?'”

Back to work…

Miliband Lunches With Vocal Kendall Critic

No one tell Louise Mensch, but the founder of the Milifandom finally met her hero today:

Writing in this week’s New Statesman, Ed’s lunch partner has some choice words for “the most right-wing candidate”, Liz Kendall, slamming her “unnecessary attempt to make herself look better” by burning Andy Burnham at the Newsnight hustings. Abby adds:

“I think her delivery lacks emotion and can come across at times as robotic. Not to mention that she has the backing of the Sun, which is hardly a positive endorsement…”

She hasn’t decided to whom she will be giving her crucial endorsement, though she says Jeremy Corbyn

“seems genuinely angry about injustice and passionately wants to help people. His attraction as a candidate is that he makes you want to stand up and cheer. He should not be underestimated.”

To be fair, that’s what she said about Ed…

Labour Whips’ Punishment Beating For Corbyn Backers

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Labour whips dealt out a “punishment beating” to several MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader, by whipping the vote for select committee chairmanships against Corbyn-backing candidates.

At least three Labour MPs running for chairmanships, who had nominated Corbyn, had to rely on the votes of Tory colleagues after whips ordered Labour MPs not to vote for them.

Labour sources suggest whips hoping for a “clean” leadership contest were “furious” that Corbyn made it onto the ballot paper and wanted revenge.

Giving Corbyn handy ammunition as an anti-establishment candidate who is the victim of a stitch up…

Janner ‘Raped and Tortured Children in Parliament’

Campaigning MP Simon Danczuk has used parliamentary privilege to reveal the dark allegations against Lord Janner, including that he abused young boys in parliament:

Simon Danczuk: The shocking thing is that the CPS admits that the witnesses are not unreliable. It admits that Janner should face prosecution, but refuses to bring a case. I know the police are furious about this, and rightly so. Anyone who has heard the accusations would be similarly outraged. I have met Leicestershire police and discussed the allegations in some detail: children being violated, raped and tortured, some in the very building in which we now sit. The official charges are: 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988; two indecent assaults between ’84 and ’88; four counts of buggery of a male under 16 between ’72 and ’87; and two counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988. My office has spoken to a number of the alleged victims and heard their stories. I cannot overstate the effect that this abuse has had on their lives.

To sum up, I want to make the following points about the case. If Lord Janner really is too ill to face prosecution, why cannot the courts establish this with a fitness-to-plead process? This would clear up doubts that still linger. For example, why was he still visiting Parliament on official visits after he was declared unfit to face justice? Why is he able to contribute to the law-making process in the House of Lords, but unable to face the law himself? If it is found that he is genuinely too ill to stand trial, why not conduct a trial of the facts? This would allow the victims to tell their stories and gain some sense of justice. The DPP has said that a trial of the facts would not be in the public interest. Personally, I fail to see how the knowledge that a peer of the realm is a serial child abuser is not in the public interest.

Mrs Anne Main (in the Chair): Order. I caution the hon. Gentleman about alleging anything against Lord Janner and making assertions about his guilt or innocence.

Simon Danczuk: The Director of Public Prosecutions has said that Lord Janner will not offend again. But the failure to prosecute Lord Janner offends every principle of justice. He may not abuse again, but the legacy of the abuse continues. His victims need the truth and they need to be heard.

No justice.

Cash For Influence: How a Labour Donor Killed a Bill

Guido has written previously on how Labour have let trade union donors buy influence in the House. Well, they have been caught red handed once again.

On May 29, Labour peer Baroness Turner sponsored a Private Members’ Bill seeking to reform Easter trading laws – introducing it at its first reading in the House of Lords.

The bill would have removed the prohibition on Easter trading for large shops.

Two weeks later, on the afternoon of June 16, the general secretary of the USDAW union emailed Labour peers asking them to oppose the Labour bill:

From: John Hannett

Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Subject: Please oppose the Easter Day Trading Bill – Second Reading on Friday 19th June

Dear XXXX,

As the main retail union for the UK’s 3 million shopworkers, Usdaw urges peers to oppose the Private Member’s Bill on Easter Day Trading at second reading on Friday. The UK already has the longest trading hours in Europe, with over 150 shopping hours a week, and only 2 days per year of large stores being closed – Christmas Day and Easter Day…

As the attached briefing sets out, two thirds of shopworkers are already under pressure to work on Sundays, and this pressure intensifies at busy trading times, with holidays not permitted…

For these reasons, I urge you not to support the Easter Trading Bill. 

Yours sincerely

John Hannett

General Secretary, Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive & Allied Workers)

Just three days after that email was sent to Labour peers, Baroness Turner withdrew her bill:

In the last five years, USDAW has donated over £6 million to the Labour Party. It has regularly lobbied in defence of exisiting Sunday trading laws.

A major Labour donor, which lobbies heavily on a single issue, successfuly gets a Labour bill withdrawn after lobbying Labour peers. It stinks…

Labour Admit They Can’t Stop Tories Voting For Corbyn

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Last week Labour sought to nip the #ToriesForCorbyn campaign in the bud by insisting everyone voting must “support the aims and values of the Labour Party and if they don’t then they won’t be allowed to take part”.

Since then, the only change made to the process has been to ask participants to agree to this statement:

“I support the aims and values of the Labour Party, and I am not a supporter of any organisation opposed to it.”

Yet Labour NEC veteran Ann Black last night admitted that the new system would not stop Tory entryists:

“Some members are concerned about registered supporters and whether our political enemies can subvert the process… Of course people can always lie”

The Corbyn campaign is now seeking to allay concerns:

“much has been made of the idea that Tories are joining the party to vote for this or that candidate. Our instincts tell us to be suspicious of a storm whipped up mainly by the Tory Press. We doubt if it adds up to much.”

He might doubt it, but he’ll be hoping that it does…

Labour Councillor Defends Auschwitz / Austerity Comparison

Labour councillor Bernadette Fisher could have said that she retweeted this tasteless Auschwitz photoshop by accident.

She could have said she didn’t look properly before clicking.

She could have said she was hacked.

All three would have been better than the defence she has given to her local paper.

“The point of the tweet is to see the consequences of austerity are grave for people. It’s a pretty extreme message but I think that if you ignore the needs of the poor what are we doing to them? They are trying to make a big thing of it but I am confident of the morality behind my decision to retweet it.

I am not intending to offend, I am intending to make a political point. I feel very strongly about this and I think it’s not good enough that all we are doing is dealing with the deficit. The danger is that you systematically destroy those things that make us so proud.

“I have all kinds of people tweeting back and they are all on the right. Whoever they are, they are doing it for a political reason. They are doing it to have a go at a Labour councillor and that’s what happens when you are doing a tweet and put yourself out there.”

No, Bernadette, they aren’t having a go because you “put yourself out there”, they are having a go because you compared government policy to the Holocaust.

Her critics are on the left too: the former chair of her local Labour party has called for her to resign:

A UKIP councillor would have gone by now…

UPDATE: And there it is:

Mandy Loses to Sissay

Peter Mandelson has been devoting his time to the election for the new Chancellor of Manchester University.

Well, the results are in:

Number of eligible voters: 143,915
Votes cast by post: 111
Votes cast online: 17,772
Total number of votes

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Unite Labour Councillor in Sick Auschwitz Austerity Slur

Having served 25 years as a national secretary for Unite, career comrade Bernadette Fisher finally got the call up to be a Labour councillor in Whitstable in May.

Six weeks into the job and she is already retweeting tasteless photoshops […]

+ READ MORE +

Miliband Gags Press Over Dirty Encounter on Hampstead Heath

This morning’s Jewish Telegraph claims Ed Miliband threatened to sue them if they published Richard Desmond’s account of a meeting between the media mogul and former Labour leader. The paper’s splash alleges:

“The former Labour leader was furious over allegations

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Another Kinnock Election Defeat

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Labour Red Prince Stephen Kinnock may have just won the safe seat of Aberavon, but things haven’t panned out so well for his wife, Denmark’s first female prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. She resigned as leader of her party this morning […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too leftwing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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