Jeremy making the running – while May runs away

By Richard Burgon

Labour wants to win the general election. We need to see the back of this cruel Conservative government. Over the next six weeks everyone in our party and the trade union and labour movement has a huge duty to fulfil.

Yes, Labour is currently behind in the polls. But we didn’t use that as an excuse to try to block a general election. We know that the Conservatives have made – and are continuing to make – the lives of those we represent and those we seek to represent harder, more difficult and more unpleasant. This general election is a chance to end that.

Given the current polling and the extent of positive change we want to bring in, if we win on June 8 it will be a truly historic result.

It’s the collective task of the labour and trade union movement to make history.

But – as Jeremy Corbyn told the media last week – in 2015 he was a 200-1 shot to become Labour Party leader.

Politics has become unpredictable. And that can help give us hope.

In the first few days of the election, Jeremy has made the running. Theresa May has simply run away.

She has avoided journalists and carefully stage-managed her visits.

Jeremy has been touring the country and took on a tough Andrew Marr interview.

And Labour has turned out our huge membership in our “flying start” weekend, with thousands  of members speaking to voters and Labour leaflets pushed through at least a million letterboxes this weekend.

The Conservatives are banking on their opinion poll lead delivering them victory without any new policies to offer to voters.

This Tory complacency contrasts greatly with Labour swiftly setting out a number of concrete pledges that have really hit home.

For her own personal benefit, Theresa May wants to pretend to the public that this general election is a re-run of the EU referendum.

But the referendum has taken place and the Conservatives already have a Parliamentary majority.

This general election has to be about the Conservative government’s whole record since 2010, when they were put in power through the backdoor by those experts of political betrayal – the Liberal Democrats.

We need to make sure this general election is about zero-hours contracts, falling pay, public service cuts and the damage the Conservatives have done to our hospitals and schools.

Our party and the wider labour and trade union movement needs to get Labour’s practical and transformative alternative out there.

During parliament’s Easter break, Theresa May vacated the airwaves as she secretly plotted to call a general election she’d repeatedly ruled out. The contrast with Labour couldn’t be greater.

Whilst May was holed up in Downing Street scheming, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the Labour team announced a blitz of practical policies around the theme of Labour standing up for ordinary voters who have suffered from falling incomes under this Conservative Government’s cruel cuts agenda.

These are simple, striking policies that take on the Conservatives’ assault on the incomes and living standards of people across the UK.

As a result of this government’s political choices, it is employees here in Britain – including care workers, firefighters, nurses and teachers – who have seen the greatest fall in pay since the financial crash and continue to have to put up with the longest working week across Europe.

The Conservatives’ so-called “living wage” – announced with such fanfare in 2015 – has since been quietly revised down. Not once – but twice.

Labour, on the other hand, has offered an end to the public sector pay cap, a real living wage of £10 an hour to lift the pay for over five million people and four extra bank holidays.

The Labour Party is pledging simple and striking policies on wages, holidays, free school meals for all primary school children, a better deal for small businesses and a pledge to defend pensions.

These are pledges we can all be proud to get out there and campaign for.

We need half a million members and more to take part in this campaign. We need you on the phones, on the doorsteps, leafleting and reaching out to the unconverted and open-mined on social media.

Over the next weeks we have a historic task. A historic responsibility. Let’s not shirk it. Let’s get stuck in – because if we do, we can collectively make the lives of the majority better and more prosperous. And that’s what the Labour Party is all about.

Richard Burgon is shadow justice secretary and MP for Leeds East.

Originally published on Labour List

Labour Assembly statement on re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader

Labour Assembly Against Austerity’s Co-Chairs, Diane Abbott MP and Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union, alongside Vice-Chair Lucy Anderson MEP, comment on Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour Leader with an increased share of the vote.

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour Leadership election today, Lucy Anderson MEP, Vice-Chair of the Labour Assembly Against Austerity said:

“The Labour Assembly Against Austerity welcomes Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour leader, staking out how a Labour government would deliver a £500bn public investment programme to build our infrastructure, manufacturing, and new industries of the future, moving us to a low carbon economy, delivering good jobs and tackling the housing crisis. This is the credible – and transformative – economic strategy that Labour needs for General Election victory and will raise living standards in Britain.”

She added, “Austerity has not eliminated the government deficit, contrary to Conservative promises. Instead, because of their policies, the economy has stagnated. In contrast to this, Jeremy Corbyn clearly understands that the priority must be achieving economic growth that fairly shares wealth. We look forward to working with Jeremy in campaigning against the Conservatives and for a Labour victory in the months and years ahead.”

Co-Chair of the Labour Assembly Against Austerity Diane Abbott MP commented that, “Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour’s successes this past year in forcing some Government U-turns on austerity policies have resonated with public opposition to austerity. This would have underpinned Labour’s recent parliamentary by-election victories and Labour beating the Conservatives’ vote share at May’s local elections”.

Co-Chair of the Labour Assembly Against Austerity and Unite Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner said, “We welcome the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership – the priority now is for the Labour party to unite around this result and the economic policies to end austerity and that can deliver real improvements for people, including stronger employment and trade union rights to ensure that our economic wealth is fairly shared by the millions of people who create it”.

Meeting: Opposing Osborne’s Budget

Opposing Osborne REDOpposing Osborne’s Budget:
Why cuts hurt and spending works

Ahead of Osborne’s emergency austerity budget, Jeremy Corbyn and other Labour MPs come together to set out the approach Labour should take in opposing spending cuts.


  • Jeremy Corbyn MP
  • Cat Smith MP
  • Richard Burgon MP
  • Diane Abbott MP
  • Shelly Asquith, VP Welfare-elect, NUS
  • and more to be confirmed


  • Steve Turner, AGS, Unite the Union

Time: 7 – 8.30pm
Date: Tuesday 30th June
Venue: Houses of Parliament, Westminster

Facebook event
Eventbrite registration

Jeremy Corbyn’s alternative to austerity

JeremyJeremy Corbyn’s entry into the Labour leadership race opens the debate about the party’s future, by offering serious opposition to the Tories austerity agenda and a positive vision for public services.

Since Labour’s general election defeat, the Labour right has dominated analysis in the media, incomprehensibly arguing the party’s campaign was ‘too left’.

The first weeks of the Labour leadership debate have since followed the same pattern, with candidates arguing Labour spent too much in office and failing to oppose the Tories planned cut in the benefit cap.

Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement of his candidacy will see the Tories ideological austerity agenda challenged for what it is – a political rather than economic mission which demonises public spending and requires the poorest in society to pay for the banking crisis, while the wealthiest continue to benefit. Austerity has forced down wages in real terms in both the public and private sector for seven years – affecting the majority of the population.

Jeremy has also reached out to those campaigning against austerity in Europe – particularly in Greece – where the anti-cuts movement took power earlier this year.

His campaign offers an alternative to austerity and those struggling with its effects.

For councillors facing tough decisions on services due to grant reductions from central government to trade unionists who face further real terms cuts to public sector pay to those benefit claimants struggling with rising rents and low wages or migrants demonised by a divisive media and resurgent right, there is a clear alternative on offer and being articulated.

Jeremy stands for public intervention and investment to deliver quality public services – whether that is building new council housing, ending the wasteful private sector role in schools and hospitals, running rail franchises in public hands, delivering free university education, funding a carbon-free energy future and ending the costly Trident replacement programme.

After the election defeat, it would be perverse to ignore the overwhelming popularity of many of these policies in public opinion polling.

Labour MPs have a privileged role in shortlisting candidates, but this is just the start of the debate, not the end, and so is not the time to narrow party’s members discussion through their nominations.

Jeremy’s candidacy will encourage other candidates to consider and discuss austerity and shape the party’s new narrative throughout this parliament.

For Labour members – including 40,000 who have joined since the election – Labour MPs must back Jeremy Corbyn for an inclusive debate. For the wider public, Jeremy must be allowed to stand, if we are serious about delivering a brighter future for those suffering under austerity.