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Offer real change, Corbyn tells Labour

FORMER Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged the party to offer real change as it prepares to launch its general election manifesto.

Responding to Sir Keir Starmer’s infantile charge that the Tories had prepared “a Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto,” Mr Corbyn hit back, demanding “a fundamental shake-up of our economic and political system.”

He made his appeal as it was revealed that disillusioned members have been pouring out of what Momentum called Starmer’s “hollowed out” party, including more than 50 in Chingford angered at the treatment of candidate Faiza Shaheen.

Ridiculing Starmer’s attempt to connect him with the Tory plans, Mr Corbyn recalled Labour’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos, which offered radical change and on which the present leader had stood without demur.

He said that if they had been “implemented, energy companies wouldn’t be making record profits while millions of people suffer in poverty.

“A billionaire wouldn’t be purchasing Royal Mail. There wouldn’t be raw sewage in our rivers and seas. [Some] 250,000 people wouldn’t be homeless.

“We wouldn’t be wasting public money on private health contracts. And we would be way ahead in the green investment that is needed to tackle the climate crisis.

“These were fully costed proposals that would have redistributed wealth and power, and I was proud to stand alongside millions of voters and activists calling for this transformative change.”

He added change is still more urgent because the “crises we face today are even more pressing and severe.”

Starmer was dealt a further blow by the mass resignations in Chingford and Woodford Green, which include both the party’s election campaign organisers and a local councillor, over the hounding out of the democratically selected Ms Shaheen.

She was axed by a national executive panel at the urging of the Jewish Labour Movement on account of her pro-Palestinian stance.

In an open letter signed by 50 members but endorsed by still more, they complain that Ms Shaheen had been “deselected in an appalling and unfair” fashion “contrary to natural justice or any proper due process.”

They said her treatment was “inhumane and degrading and based on spurious grounds” while the party been happy to admit Tory MPs “who hold odious views that have been expressed repeatedly until very recently.”

The letter slammed imposed replacement candidate Shama Tatler as someone “with no roots or connection to our community and who has done none of the tireless work Faiza has carried out.”

It adds: “Not only has Faiza Shaheen been betrayed, but so have all those in the local Labour Party who voted for her candidature and the ordinary residents of the constituency.”

Ms Shaheen is now standing as an independent in the seat, held by Iain Duncan-Smith. 

The letter said she was “the only realistic and moral alternative” to the former Tory leader.

Momentum responded by pointing out that “this is where Starmer’s stich-ups always lead: activists downing tools, members quitting.

“Members are the lifeblood of Labour — but Keir and his Westminster clique treat them with contempt. The end result: a hollowed-out party.”

The departures are not confined to Chingford. Seven councillors left the party in Slough earlier in the campaign, citing “institutional racism” and one northern Labour MP said that a ring-round of members to urge them to canvass had only had the effect of provoking several resignations.

However, as Starmer unveils his nugatory programme he will be cheered by signs that the Tories are abandoning hope. 

The party is placing advertisements warning that it could be reduced to 57 seats only and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps claimed that Labour may win a Commons “supermajority” which would be “bad for democracy.”

Indeed, latest polling found that half of all voters, including a quarter of those who supported the Tories in 2019, believe that the party deserves to be totally wiped out.

This forced beleaguered premier Rishi Sunak to tell reporters that he “hasn’t given up on winning,” which is the sort of things leaders only say in an election campaign if they have.

 

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