Jess Phillips criticises selection of mayoral candidates on merit because they are men

The selection of Labour’s candidates for the 2017 mayoral elections has been criticised by Jess Phillips MP, because they are filled by prominent local politicians who happen to be men.

Jess Phillips was not her constituency’s first choice of parliamentary candidate, as she only got selected for Birmingham Yardley because an all-women shortlist was imposed on local members.

Jess Phillips MP
ALTERNATE: Jess Phillips MP only became an MP because men were barred from standing for nomination as Labour candidates. Courtesy: Birmingham Mail.

Now Jess Phillips is criticising Jeremy Corbyn for not allowing other incompetent people to have the same chances she has had to get elected for the only reason being that they are women. “He told me he was a feminist. I suppose feminism is out of the window when your brothers in arms want the jobs,” she raged about Jeremy Corbyn. “The Labour party is becoming a movement of words not deeds,” she said in anger about the fact that preferred candidates were being chosen on merit rather than alternates like herself being imposed.

The Liverpool mayoral candidate is Steve Rotheram, who is a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool and current Member of Parliament for Liverpool Walton. Andy Burnham is the Member of Parliament for Leigh in Manchester with a distinguished ministerial career in government and opposition, and will be Labour’s candidate for mayor of Greater Manchester.

The Labour Party has used all-women-shortlists as a crude way to get more women into public office. This has meant that women who lack the ability to perform in public office have got in by the back door. Some have questioned Labour’s approach, especially following the appointment of Theresa May as the second woman prime minister, chosen on merit by her fellow MPs after a distinguished career in both opposition and government. Theresa May is a Conservative, meaning the only women Prime Ministers in the United Kingdom have been members of the Conservative Party, with the first being Margaret Thatcher.

Musicians Union backlash over Owen Smith endorsement

The Executive Committee of the Musicians Union is facing a backlash over its decision to support Owen Smith to be leader of the Labour Party without consulting members.

A letter of petition organised by musician, Dr Dave Camlin of Workington in Cumbria, has the support of 22 members. The proposed motion reads:

We, the undersigned members of the MU, move that the decision by the Musicians’ Union Executive Committee on 5th August 2016 to endorse Owen Smith MP in the contest for leader of the Labour Party is not necessarily representative of the views of MU members. Owing to the strength of feeling among the membership on this issue, we therefore propose that support for Owen Smith be withdrawn immediately, and the decision on who to support in the contest for leader of the Labour Party be suspended until such time as a ballot of all MU members’ views on the subject can be undertaken.

Musicians Union members organise an emergency motion to reverse the decision of its Executive Committee to support Owen Smith.
MC HAMMERED: Musicians Union members organise an emergency motion to reverse the decision of its Executive Committee to support Owen Smith. Courtesy: Obtained from Independent.co.uk

Dr Camlin explained his reasons for organising the emergency motion. “Many MU members were disappointed by the MU Executive Committee’s decision to endorse Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest, as they didn’t feel they had been consulted on the matter, and many support Jeremy Corbyn,” he said. “The strength of feeling was evident by the huge number of critical posts on the MU Facebook page. However, because the MU is also a democratic institution, a number of members united to propose a motion to the EC to reverse the decision.
Hopefully this is a case of democracy in action – we hope that the EC will recognise the controversial and unrepresentative nature of their decision, and will want to withdraw support for Owen Smith immediately until they’ve had a chance to properly consult their members on the matter.
The ball is in their court, and we hope they do the right thing.

Prominent Musicians Union Member, Pontypridd Assembly Member Mick Antoniw, who shares the same constituency boundary as Owen Smith, has refused to confirm who he is backing in the race, but is known to have supported Jeremy Corbyn previously.

Owen Smith opposed generic drug use in favour of Pfizer patents

It has been revealed that while working for Pfizer, the United Kingdom Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith MP defended the protection of the pharmaceutical’s patents over allowing generic equivalents.

An Oxfam report from that Pfizer’s charging policies put millions of people in developing countries in a position where access to medication as lifesaving treatment was made out of their reach.

Pfizer said in a statement that “Patent protection makes drug discovery possible and profitable. It is the incentive that justifies investing billions of dollars and decades of time trying to find new cures.”

Owen Smith supported defending Pfizer's patents over generics.
NO GENERICS: Owen Smith supported defending Pfizer’s patents over generics. Courtesy: Press Association

Minutes from an All Party Parliamentary Group on Corporate Responsibility meeting quoted Owen Smith supporting the managing director of Pfizer UK, Olivier Brandicourt (OB). “Owen Smith… echoed OB’s earlier remarks about the industry’s need to protect commercially valuable intellectual property,” the document said.

Private finance record challenges Owen Smith’s Nye Bevan claim

Owen Smith, a contender to lead the United Kingdom Labour Party, has attempted to start a viral marketing campaign to link him to British National Health Service founder Aneurin Bevan to distance himself from claims he wants to privatise the NHS.

Owen Smith quoted Nye Bevan as saying “No government that attempts to destroy the health service can hope to command the support of the British people.

Owen Smith attempts to challenge criticisms of his involvement in lobbying the NHS on behalf of private sector firm.
STAIRWAY TO BEVAN: Owen Smith attempts to challenge criticisms of his involvement in lobbying the NHS on behalf of private sector firm. Courtesy: Obtained from Twitter.

Owen Smith’s colleagues in the Welsh Assembly, however, approved the building of Neath Port Talbot Hospital that cost the private sector $87m (£66m) to build, yet will eventually result in the taxpayer paying more than $400m (£300m) for it.

DRUG MONEY: Owen Smith said that MP calls to reduce Pfizer's involvement in the NHS were "entirely motivated by commercial self-interest."
DRUG MONEY: Owen Smith said that MP calls to reduce Pfizer’s involvement in the NHS were “entirely motivated by commercial self-interest.” Courtesy: Obtained from Google Images.

Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Owen Smith also lobbied the NHS on behalf of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, complaining other firms were self-interested by not wanting it to have greater involvement in the National Health Service.

Owen Smith has also been criticised for not opposing the Work Capacity Assessments because of concerns doing so would affect his party’s electability. In defiance of the incumbent Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, he supported the “benefits cap” that mean some of the most disadvantaged people in society have less money to support themselves.

Owen Smith supported benefits cap in defiance of Jeremy Corbyn

It has been revealed that when Labour leadership contender Owen Smith was Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary that he opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s call to abolish the benefits cap.

In September 2015 Jeremy Corbyn spoke against the “benefits cap” of a £120bn ($157bn) maximum budget imposed by the Conservative Government, which affects many of the most economically disadvantaged people in society. “My proposal, which the party will have to discuss – and they will – is that we should not impose the current benefit cap,” Jeremy Corbyn said. “I am a democrat,” and would have to “live with it” if it went the wrong way, he added.

Also in September 2015 the then Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith stated he supported the benefit cap. “We remain in favour of a mechanism that allows us to have some constraints on how much families can draw down,” he said in defiance of Jeremy Corbyn.

Owen Smith supported the benefits cap, reducing the income of some of the most disadvantages people in society.
CAP IN HAND: Owen Smith supported the benefits cap, reducing the income of some of the most disadvantages people in society. Courtesy: Obtained from YouTube.

I was revealed in the last week that Owen Smith told a constituent with a disability that he couldn’t oppose Conservative Government benefits cuts because it would make Labour less electable.

Owen Smith challenged over disability record

LIMITED CAPACITY: Owen Smith MP has been accused over statements about people with disabilities. Courtesy: Media Wales.
LIMITED CAPACITY: Owen Smith MP has been accused over statements about people with disabilities. Courtesy: Media Wales.

One of the two prospective candidates to challenge UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused over his record on people with disabilities.

Owen Smith, who is the UK Member of Parliament for Pontypridd, was the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn leadership.

One person with a disability from Owen Smith’s Pontypridd constituency challenged his record in this area. “I asked Mr Smith why, given that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) has been responsible for a great many more deaths than the Bedroom Tax, Labour had pledged to scrap the Bedroom Tax but had said nothing about pledging to scrap the WCA,” said resident and campaigner, Liza Van Zyl. “Mr Smith replied that Labour could not pledge to scrap the WCA because this would make Labour appear weak on benefits in the eyes of the media and compromise Labour’s general-election chances.
I am very concerned about Mr Smith’s attitude toward disabled people and particularly to his views that the deaths of disabled people are less important than Labour’s ‘tough on benefits’ standing in the right wing press.

Labour’s Owen Smith ‘planned’ leadership bid

The United Kingdom Member of Parliament, Owen Smith, who is likely to challenge the incumbent leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has likely been planning the coup since January 2016, it has been revealed.

DRUG MONEY: Owen Smith said that MP calls to reduce Pfizer's involvement in the NHS were "entirely motivated by commercial self-interest."
DRUG MONEY: Owen Smith said that MP calls to reduce Pfizer’s involvement in the NHS were “entirely motivated by commercial self-interest.” Courtesy: Obtained from Google Images.

Owen Smith is the member of Parliament for Pontypridd and signalled his intent to become Labour Leader in January.

Some have questioned Owen Smith’s suitability to by Labour Party leader, when his record on the NHS has included trying to push drugs made by Pfizer over other brands. “Basicaly Owen Smith you want to privatise the NHS You stand at opposite ends of the spectrum to Corbyn a true socialist & always has been,” one angry voter said. “No my friend you are not like Corbyn you are in favour of PFI a pay as you go NHS,” they concluded.

Owen Smith announced in January he was seeking to be leader of the Labour Party. “I think any politician who comes into this to want to change the world for the better, starting with their own patch and working outwards, I think their either in the wrong game or fibbing if they don’t say, ‘if you had the opportunity to be in charge and put your own vision for a better Britain would you take it?,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any vacancy right now,” he added.

PRIVATE EYES: Owen Smith called for greater private sector involvement in the NHS. Courtesy: Media Wales.
PRIVATE EYES: Owen Smith called for greater private sector involvement in the NHS. Courtesy: Media Wales.

Some have suggested that the current attacks on Jeremy Corbyn – whose party has got the most seats in every election under his leadership – are motivated by self-interest from those on the right of the party. It is argued these “Blairites” used the EU referendum result as an excuse to attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn, who they had not wanted since he was elected by over 60% of members in 2015. Despite using the EU referendum as an excuse to oust Jeremy Corbyn, research by YouGov found that 90% of Labour Party members voted for Remain – which Jeremy Corbyn campaigned for.

It could be argued that Owen Smith has been plotting his leadership bid since January 2016, when he first mooted the suggestion he would like the job.

Labour weigh up legal advice

A legal advisor to the United Kingdom Labour Party has said that should there be a challenge to incumbent Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership that he will be entitled to be on the list of candidates without any requirement to be renominated.

The Labour Party’s members of the UK Parliament have been trying to bully Jeremy Corbyn into resigning, knowing that he would not be entitled to re-contest the election automatically if he did.

The Labour Party has been advised that any challenge to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership where he has not resigned will result in him being entitled to contest the election without being renominated.
LEGAL ADVICE: The Labour Party has been advised that any challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership where he has not resigned will result in him being entitled to contest the election without being renominated. Courtesy: Obtained from YouTube.

Barrister, Mark Henderson, who was engaged by the Labour Party hierarchy, made clear in his advice any leadership challenge without Jeremy Corbyn resigning would mean he’d be entitled to stand. “In the case of an election for leader and/or deputy leader where there is no vacancy, the incumbent is automatically on the ballot paper along with the challenger(s)” the advice read.

Co-op membership surge as Blairites seek refuge

The Co-operative Party has seen a surge in membership, with some claiming Blairites in the British Labour Party are seeking a way out of the party now that members are rallying around its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Over 60% of Labour Party members in Great Britain support Jeremy Corbyn, with those on the right of the party dissatisfied about Corbyn’s left leaning politics. It has led to Angela Eagle, who famously survived a coup led by Lol Duffy, announcing she is going to stand against Corbyn, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the UK Parliament.

Angela Eagle criticised Labour Party members in 2015 for "in-fighting" and then leads the in-fighting in 2016 as part of her naked ambition to be Labour Leader.
CO-OP COUP: Angela Eagle seeks to lead the centre-left of the Labour Party. Courtesy: Obtained from The Times.

Eagle has said she wants to avoid a split in the Labour Party, but some see the surge in the Co-operative Party’s membership as a back-up plan for when Jeremy Corbyn is overwhelmingly re-elected by Labour Party members.

 

Bullying of Jeremy Corbyn intensifies

The bullying of Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to force him to quit as the leader of the UK Labour Party has intensified.

Labour Party rules state that if a leader resigns they are not allowed to contest the subsequent leadership election, but if someone stands against them without them resigning then they can. Because Jeremy Corbyn has the backing of Labour’s own members his critics are trying to bully him into resigning so he can’t be reelected.

Critical colleagues of Jeremy Corbyn claim to want to offer him a “way out” of the situation of they created, but grassroots organisations are standing by him. James Schneider of Momentum believes the plan would not work as Mr Corbyn has an enormous amount of support from Labour members. “If they are unhappy with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership or the policies which he is standing for, they need to get 51 signatures, they need to find a candidate, they need to find a platform and they need to go for it,” he said. “But they don’t have a candidate who can beat Jeremy Corbyn.

Ed Miliband knows a thing or two about how to lose elections - including by eating a bacon sandwich.
FAILURE: Ed Miliband knows a thing or two about how to lose elections. Courtesy: Jeremy Selwyn

Leaders during Labour general election disasters, namely Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband have also asked Jeremy Corbyn to leave. Ed Miliband, who famously couldn’t eat a bacon sandwich when he was Labour leader, called on Jeremy Corbyn to quit. “I’ve supported Jeremy Corbyn all the way along, from the moment he was elected he said. “It was the right thing to do.
I think a lot of what he stands for is very important for us going forward.
But I’ve reluctantly reached a conclusion that his position is untenable.

Lord Kinnock, whose family has done so well out of the political establishment since losing an unlosable election in 1992, was defiant. “I totally understand and I completely support the members of Parliament who voted in the no-confidence motion,” he said. “They were doing the clear, honest thing when they are so fundamentally alarmed by the prospects for the party.

Gordon Brown, whose general election loss defeat was only slightly less worse than Ed Miliband’s, called on Corbyn to quit. “I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is going to stay, he’s going to go,” he said.