Labour’s Liam Byrne struck an unforgiving tone on yesterday’s West Midlands Politics Live, calling out those who have protested during the pandemic, and even backing a stricter response from the police against those who break the spirit and letter of the stay at home rules. Could this be the same Liam Byrne who himself was out protesting just last week, speaking to GMB Union members protesting British Gas?
“I’ve organised a few demos myself in my time, but in the middle of a pandemic? Really? I do think we have all got a responsibility to row in behind the police… we need everybody from the Prime Minister down to be reinforcing both the spirit and the letter of the rules.”
Presumably hypocritical Byrne will be now taking himself off to the West Midlands Police headquarters to hand himself in.
At the weekend Labour’s West Midlands candidates for mayor and police and crime commissioner were busy campaigning. Despite repeated pleas from the candidates for the general public to follow the rules – especially as Birmingham is under stricter measures than much of the country – the rules clearly did not seem to apply to their own campaign. Deputy leader of Birmingham Council Brigid Jones and PCC candidate Simon Foster both merrily advertised themselves breaching the rule of six and social distancing rules. Or has Labour U-turned again on the rule of six after all?
Liam Byrne has defeated former Respect Party Leader Salma Yaqoob and former Dudley Council leader Pete Lowe to become Labour’s candidate for the West Midlands Mayoralty. Despite endorsements from Unite and Momentum, Yaqoob came third. See more about the candidates here…
UPDATE: The votes were as follows: Byrne came first in first preferences (3,105 out of 6,948 valid votes), Lowe was second (with 2,034) and Yaqoob third (1,809). After second preferences were redistributed, Byrne received 56.5% of the vote and Lowe received 43.5%.
Point 2 of Siôn Simon’s 10 point plan for the Midlands is to rebuild “the West Midlands as Britain’s capital of technology”. A noble aim. As he says
“The collective geniuses of the West Midlands are game-changers – global and historic leaders. We should celebrate this more. As Mayor, I will champion our region”
So, besides soundbites, what has candidate Siôn done to champion his region?
Well to be fair there is not a lot he can do out of power. He does however have a fancy campaign website – so what Brummie web wizards did he get in to showcase Britain’s would be capital of technology by building his website? Errr…
His website was built by Tectonica, in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
So much for bringing those technology jobs to the West Midlands…
Yesterday Guido reported on how arch-Europhile Sion Simon was impersonating a Brexiteer to win votes in the West Midlands mayoral election. Sion has been busy deleting pages from his website so he can keep up the charade. A statement he published back in June explaining his support for Remain has mysteriously vanished.
Unfortunately Sion is not a ‘proppa blogger‘ so he doesn’t realise that nothing ever really disappears from the internet:
“Until June 23rd I will be focussing on the campaign for the UK to remain in the European Union.”
Can’t think why Simon, an MEP on a fat Brussels salary remember, would campaign to Remain. Nor why he suddenly wants to pretend he didn’t…
Judging by the campaign material above, you’d think Labour’s candidate for West Midlands mayor is a Brexit backer who wants to stick it to the Westminster elite. Vote Leave slogan? Tick. England flag? Tick. Platitude about how “Politicians in London have learnt nothing”? Tick. Laughable really, since Sion Simon is still a Member of the European Parliament, backed Remain in the referendum and has been a career Westminster Europhile. His first job was working as an adviser to the Shadow Europe minister, he then ran the Europe desk at Labour HQ, then worked at the Labour press office, then as a political journalist, then as “Alastair Campbell’s shorthand typist”, then as a Labour MP with two ministerial jobs under Gordon Brown, before going to Brussels and taking a fat MEP’s salary. The West Midlands voted overwhelmingly to Leave. “Take back control” indeed…