Monday, 25 July 2016

Reading and District Labour Party Majority Supports Jeremy Corbyn MP as Party Leader

Cllr Sarah Hacker of the RTUC with Labour Party leader,
Jeremy Corbyn MP, at the recent Unite Conference

On 25 July 2016, the Reading and District Labour Party hosted the town’s two Constituency Labour Party leadership endorsement meetings. Following the circulation of statements by both Labour Party leadership candidates, Jeremy Corbyn MP and Owen Smith MP, supporters of each candidate were given fifteen minutes each to make the case for their preference.
The Reading Trades Union Council was well represented at the meeting, with James Parker, Billie Reynolds, Cllr Sarah Hacker, John Partington, Antoinette Solera and Arron Jones present. In line with the RTUC’s unanimous policy, John, as Communications Officer, spoke in favour of Jeremy at the meeting. His endorsement ran as follows:
In its general meeting of 12 July 2016, the Reading Trades Union Council unanimously voted to endorse Jeremy Corbyn MP for Labour Party leader. Earlier, on 28 June, the trades council’s Executive had done the same, organising a pro-Corbyn rally and sending an open letter to Jeremy urging him on and calling on Angela Eagle MP and Owen Smith MP to withdraw their challenges. The trades council salutes Councillors Woodward, Williams, Pearce, McElligott, Maskell, Livingston, Jones, Hacker and the two Absoloms for having the courage to sign a letter of support for Jeremy this week.
I believe Jeremy should be supported for his reintroduction of socialism into Labour Party policy. I would ask all present to ask themselves which of the following policies they reject:
-          rail nationalisation
-          nuclear disarmament
-          real public ownership of the NHS
-          council house building
-          an end to austerity budgets
-          the repeal of the Social Care Act
-          the repeal of anti-trade union laws
Jeremy’s candidature last year and Labour Party leadership this year has brought hundreds of thousands of members into the party. His dignity and sense of principle attracts people who have for years distrusted politicians. And – perhaps most importantly – Jeremy wins elections and increases majorities, whether it be the mayoralties of London, Bristol and elsewhere, several by-elections in the past year, the council seat in Southcote or increasing Labour’s share of the vote in the May local elections as compared to last year – including in Reading. On the basis of all this – I urge support for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader.
Jeremy has today won the endorsement of Disabled People Against Cuts and Sarah Champion MP, who resigned from his Shadow Cabinet in June, has today withdrawn her resignation. With characteristic good grace, Jeremy accepted her withdrawal and has reinstated her within the Shadow Cabinet. And of course, Jeremy gave powerful speeches to Unison and dozens of other organisations during the referendum campaign concerning British membership of the European Union, endorsing a reformed EU. On the basis of his policies, principles and proven track record of winning elections, I move the endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Party leader.
It is a credit to Jeremy’s supporters at the meeting that all those who endorsed him did so on the basis of his policies and achievements. By contrast, the Owen Smith supporters focussed on attacking Jeremy and – with one exception out of six – Smith’s supporters did not mention any of his policies or political achievements.
As a result of the discussion for the two candidates, votes were taken by Reading West Constituency Labour Party members and by Reading East Constituency Labour Party members and the results were a Reading West endorsement of Jeremy by 37 votes to 23 and a Reading East endorsement of Smith by 51 votes to 42. The sum total of the result is that Reading and District Labour Party voted 79 to 74 in favour of Jeremy Corbyn MP for Labour Party leader!
The non-antagonistic spirit of the discussion during the evening was a credit to the Labour Party and goes some way towards correcting the media propaganda of Labour Party disharmony throughout the country. This is clearly a media bogey.