Analysis comment

Right-wing Progress and Labour First back Starmer, Phillips to ‘reclaim’ Labour for the right

Die-hard anti-Corbyn groups come out for preferred leadership candidates

Progress and Labour First have emailed supporters to ask them to get behind Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips in the contest to become the Labour Party’s next leader.

The message, sent this afternoon to the Progress mailing list, tells readers that:

The party can either choose to continue along the path charted by Jeremy Corbyn over the past four years and march us further into political irrelevance. Or it can choose to learn the lessons of defeat, reconnect with the British public and rebuild a relevant, credible party, trusted and fit for national office.

The first opinion poll of members in the Labour leadership election – from YouGov, who correctly predicted the outcomes in 2015 and 2016 – shows there is everything to fight for.

In the first round it shows candidates such as Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips in first and third place on 36% and 12%, and “continuity Corbynite” candidate Rebecca Long Bailey second on 23% – with modelling suggesting at this stage in the contest, Mr. Starmer might beat Ms. Long Bailey in the final round.

This is not a forgone conclusion, however, and we all need to campaign hard to ensure that Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips and other mainstream, progressive candidates that declare get a fair crack of the whip – and as much support as we can give them.

That’s why, with Labour First, we’ve launched the Reclaiming Labour campaign, so we can identify and contact everyone who shares our values and wants to be part of winning back the party.

‘Mainstream’ has, for the past couple of years at least, been the Labour right’s preferred shorthand for ‘one of us’.

The Progress ‘Reclaiming Labour’ email

Labour First and Progress adherents have been at the forefront of efforts to undermine what they laughably call ‘hard left’ politics ever since Corbyn was first elected as party leader in 2015. Many Labour supporters blame them for the fact that Corbyn didn’t quite take power in 2017 – and for the ‘referendum and remain’ push that triggered the loss of so many leave-voting ‘heartland’ seats last month.

Many Labour supporters also believe that those factions were more than happy to lose both elections, as long as it ultimately let them take ‘their’ party back.

And both have now come out for the candidates they believe will – literally – let them ‘reclaim’ Labour.

Keir Starmer, in particular, has pitched his campaign so far on the idea that he would not represent a return to the pre-Corbyn, right-wing regime that saw Labour continually haemorrhage voters and so alienated its working-class base that the 2017 ‘Corbyn surge’ gained the party its biggest increase in vote share since 1945.

He will not be helped by the declaration by Progress and Labour First that, as far as they are concerned, he, Jess Phillips and other so-called ‘mainstream’ candidates represent exactly that.

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  1. Jess Philips as a credible leader?! She is the Labour equivalent of Anne Widdecombe; an embarrassment, a ‘vulgarian’ somebody here called Phillips. It sounded right! The sort who’d say anything to get attention

    1. Don’t you think you are being a bit hard on Anne Widdecombe comparing her to Jess? After all Anne only made a total show of herself on appeared on Strictly whereas Jess is does it all the time LOL!

    2. To that I would heartily agree. In particular – amongst a host of embarassing incidents – I will havve in my mind her prancing sown the road ‘protecting’ the obnoxious Ruth Smeeth from fantasy ‘antisemites’ at the time of Marc Wadsworth’s defenestration.

      Anyone with that distortion of judgment and excess of ego shouldn’t be anywhere near consideration for a role – let alone one of leadership.

      The Groan’s (house journal of MI6) go-to rattle bag.

    3. I would like to see some evidence, witness or photographic, that Jess Philips really did march against the Iraq War.

      We do know that she and Starmer both voted with Theresa May to replace Trident after a debate in which the prime minister expressed a willingness to kill 100,000 people.

      What level of death and destruction supported by Theresa May would have put them off voting with her?

      I suppose Starmer is lucky in a way. At least he has not been endorsed by Ruth Smeeth!

  2. Phillips ‘Stab Jeremy in the front’ is a political moron and isn’t fit to be in Labour in my view. Starmer is a political lightweight who perhaps would be a good Leader for the Lib Dems.
    In 2010 the Left had the limited choice of the centre left/right lightweight Miliband brothers but didn’t criticise politically useless Ed ONCE in public in 3 years!
    Labour failed to get over the line in 2017 because 100 or so Right Wing Labour MPs including the political moron Watson had been slagging off Jeremy in public for over a year!
    Fast forward to 2019 and led by the Right the majority committed electoral suicide by not respecting the Leave result thus snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but despite the Right’s political stupidity they use classic displacement theory to blame anyone but themselves.
    The Right want Labour back to being a cosy club, nice career routes for careerist MPs, to stand for NOTHING, to offer crumbs for working people, to give free reign to Neo-Liberalism and lay prostrate at its feet – to keep down socialism and to discipline working people including trade unionists.
    I would argue the Right are politically timid and frightened of being radical, are poorly read and politically ignorant they don’t really understand Neo-Liberalism, the bores even perhaps enjoy fighting the left whilst we see them as irritants who actually do all they can to stifle the progress of humanity, they should do us all a favour and serve society better by taking up allotnents.
    The left wing democratic socialist genie is out of the bottle AND ONLY LEFT WING DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM CAN CRUSH NEO-LIBERALISM which is why we will win!

  3. If Progress are promoting Starmer, then I’ll DEFINITELY not vote for him. As for ‘MeMeMe’, well…I have nothing pleasant at all to say about that thing.

  4. Meanwhile. in the real world………the dream ticket of Jess Phillips & Keir Starmer may become a reality. What would happen to the Labour Party should this happen? If I ever dream such a nightmare, I will wake up & apologise @ the earliest opportunity.

    1. Whilst I empathise with your fears I don’t think they have any foundation in reality because surely if Jess Philips stands for the leadership then that would preclude her from being voted in as Deputy Leader and your nightmare scenario of her being Kier Starmer’s deputy couldn’t occur.

      1. Good point. But perhaps she will point her ambition away from the role of Leader, as she stands no chance of achieving it.

    2. 3 right wing shits pile in with their interpretation of the Real World. The rich and powerful are kegging it, they haven’t a clue what to do; witness Goebells Cummings desperate plea for more eccentric weirdos and essentics, the Right Wing Tory Neo-Liberal Barbarians won a battle, but we will win the war.

      1. Left wing democratic socialists need to help organise the diverse multitude by standing on their side. The Rich and powerful can only legally nick the surplus labour of diverse working people for so long with the aid of the Right wing media, the liberal media and Right Wing Labour until the penny drops.
        They have to CON diverse working people every day, we only need to wake them up once.
        We can transform the world peacefully and democratically. X

  5. Funny, I attended a Progress/Labour First gathering in Torfaen on Thursday this week, two former MPs were in attendance and no mention whatsoever was made of the ‘Starmer/Phillips’ non-dream ticket. Any Labour Grouping that considers Phillips fit for any office whatsoever within the Party is deluded, particularly given her love for rightwing magazine outlets, publishers and certain Tory ERG members.

    To be blunt, I’d rather vote Plaid Cymru than have Phillips as Deputy Leader, she has shown zero support to the present leadership and done all in her power to prevent a Labour Government in 2019 – the last thing the Party requires is two Remain zealots, which, allegedly the Progress mob understand – not with this crap I’m afraid.

  6. I’m sick of reading press releases which talk a lit about what needs to be done to change our fortunes but never say anything
    Hopefully its early days and they are all testing the water,
    Bottom line
    Would you sack on the spot any member making a vexatious claim of anti semitism against the party

  7. I would put the following links/articles all in the same post, but as most people on here probably know, if you put more than one link in a post it has to wait to be moderated, and that can take a while. So anyway, I think I’d be right in saying that many people who read skwawkbox don’t tend to read any of the main-stream newspapers, so here’s a taster of what our enemies are up to, and HAVE been up to since the general election:

      1. I see that Stephen Pollard has been practising his debating skills again!

        He is even worse than I thought which is quite an achievement.

    1. And if you can stomach it:


    2. Interesting how the Jewish Leadership Council aligns itself with the historical and current proto-fascist press.

      If I was Jewish *that* is what I would be really worried about.

  8. Even among the drones and time-servers that make up the current PLP there can’t be enough of them idiot enough to put Phillips on the ballot for leader or deputy surely.

  9. It’s fairly obvious now that the Labour Party is actually two Parties and neither of them has a credible Leadership candidate. It is therefore vital that Jeremy Corbyn remains as Leader well into the future so that we can have some semblance of unity and attack the Tories over the inevitable mess that Brexit and the negotiations are going to produce.

    1. Yeah, but it’s not gonna happen Jack, so why do you and yer buddies keep repeating it over and over and over and over again!

      Funny, isn’t it, how you and yer chums have been slagging off JC on countless occasions for being weak and cowardly and appeasing the smearers etc and not defending the likes of Chris Williams, but now you all want him to stay on as leader when you know damn well that he will be standing down once a new leader is elected.

      I wonder why that is! Oh, right, so you can all slag him off AGAIN for letting us all down etc, etc, etc when he DOES stand down.


      1. Ah, Allan Howard, the infamous ‘white flag man’ who believes it is foolish to combat the Zionist enemy in the Party lest they turn on you, has awoken from his slumber.

        So, Mr. White Flag Man, which of the Zionists would you prefer to have as leader?

      2. I think you spend too long staring at a screen and wading through all the semi-literate conspiracy shite that constitutes so much of the internet, Allan. It seems to affect your judgment and sense of proportion.

        JackT makes a perfectly ordinary observation, and you then do a paranoid war dance in capital letters. What’s that all about?

  10. “The first opinion poll of members in the Labour leadership election..”

    Many questions arise for me:

    (a) How did You Gov obtain names and contact details for Labour members in order to “poll” them? It beggars belief that this information could have been given to a third party without members’ consent, especially bearing in mind data protection legislaltion,

    (b) What was You Gov’s sampling base? Clearly this was not the whole of Labour’s membership, so there must have been some selective methodology employed. What was this? Were respondents self-selected?

    (c) How was the poll conducted? Having obtained the ‘raw’ data, how was this weighted in order to obtain the poll result stated?

    (d) How was all of this done over the Christmas/New Year period when many people were otherwise occupied and few researchers would have been at work to process the results?

    (e) In common with many, many thousands of others, I am a Labour Party member. I also earn money by taking You Gov surveys. Not only was I not personally approached to participate, (admittedly this may not be particularly significant), but over the festive period I saw no reference to this survey on blogs or social media. This makes me think that the whole thing, if indeed it happened at all, was a very cloak-and-dagger operation.

    We live in a country grown unreal and strange.

    1. Its all BS, polls are there to get the sheep to vote the way somebody else wants. Not indicative of public opinion at all.

      1. Thanks for this, Steve H. However, I still do not understand how You Gov came up with a result that indicated a RW blanker like Starmer having a clear lead when the majority of members appear to be leftwingers who joined as a result of Corbyn.

  11. the fact that a person is a credible leader without consider who they are to lead and to what and is futile.Margaret Thatcher was a credible leader and ld her party to victory and changed the Labour Party almot beyond recognition with the aid of Tony Bñair We cannot have either of those but Boris might be a good option if he could be persuaded to join Labour. there are sevearl former tories who might be willing, perhaps including Sarah Wolleston


    1. Heavitreeman…..My veiw of Thatcher was just a toffee nosed Tory.Then she got lucky with the Falklands and diverted attention from her appalling rule with a war and flag waving that the Brits love.She squandered billions in Nsea oil receipts and made millions unemployed.The IRA saved her government in a failed bomb attack and she got lucky again.The British public love a war and she gave them one with the miners union and we get to the present day.Another Tory snob of breeding and stature….Boris piffel Johnson and again the public love him.How many wars and misery will this clown join up for?.No more wars and more democracy in the Labour party,,perhaps we can get a Labour leader who doesn’t follow Johnson into the sabre rattling patriotism that puts young men and women in body bags and keeps Torys in power..

  12. here’s a thought , if by chance we don;t get a real honest Left Winger to be leader with a decent real LW deputy , then perhaps an organised revolt among the membership is in order. Manifesting itself in the mass ” spoiling of the OMOV ” voting slips , or simply on mass refuse to vote at all.
    I wonder if there is any minimum threshold percentage that is required for any such Leadership vote to be declared null and void as not meeting that threshold percentage ?
    E.g say 50 or 60 thousand voted out of the total eligible vote of the 500k membership , then any RW leader could not in any way deem to have a mandate to lead the party …… well its a dream I know .

    1. Rob – E.g say 50 or 60 thousand voted out of the total eligible vote of the 500k membership , then any RW leader could not in any way deem to have a mandate to lead the party

      If Len McCloskey can claim he has a mandate on the basis of roughly 5% of Unite’s membership voting for him then why not.

      1. SteveH, you’re showing yourself up. McCluskey get’s much, much more than 5% of votes.

        He cannot be blamed for members’ failure to vote, but you are hardly winning friends or influencing people here by citing Sun, Union-hating, Kelvin MacKenzie-esq contortions on Skwawkbox.

      2. qwertboi 03/01 at 10:42 pm

        Please have the common decency to check your facts before accusing me of getting my facts wrong.

        “McCluskey won 59,067 votes (45.4%), Coyne won 53,544 (41.5%) and grassroots candidate Ian Allinson took 17,143 (13.1%), on a turnout of just over 12%, the union announced.”
        ……”McCluskey’s vote dropped from 144,570 in 2013 when the turnout was nearly 15%.”

      3. whataboutery steveH …. it was a guess at possible numbers , not scientific and was my musings of alternatives available to the membership to try and show its displeasure at being stitched up again by the party bureaucracy , engineering “the choice” so do you have anything to say re the actual concept ??….

      4. rob 03/01/2020 at 11:05 pm

        It’s not whataboutery, it’s the truth.

        As for your proposal to abstain, I think your it is a really crap idea. Did someone from the RW maliciously plant that thought in your head?

      5. Steve H “have the common decency to check your facts” you say to qwertboi.I would expect that you might swallow that along with your right wing propoganda ….comrade

      6. Joseph OKEEFE 04/01/2020 at 10:48 am

        For goodness sake Joseph, listen to yourself, are you claiming that my comment about the McCloskey vote is untrue. Do you have some alternative Trumpesqu facts to link to.

  13. In announcing their candidates the usual suspects (Progress Ltd. And Labour First) are showing that they vehemently oppose the moderate social democracy (i.e. social-ist democracy) of Jeremy Corbyn that has strongly rejuvenated and re-energised the Labour Party.

    They have the gall to proclaim that the Corbyn Project is an “error”.

    They are wrong. They risk a third rejection by the membership. Liz 2% Kendal. Owen Smith. And now Jess Philips and Keir Starmer. Will they never learn??

    Labour needs a Corbyn continuation candidate. I hope he or she declares on or after 07 December when the leadership contest starts officially.

    Ian Lavery, your Party is waiting.

  14. Taxi for My Lavery , next stop No 10 …or am I jumping the gun a bit here … :-))

  15. Whot you forgot is who ever takes over the leadership will get whot Corbyn got the TV papers radio will try to do the same telling all they are communist or the like if they are voted for if they left so they need to be stronger than Jeremy c if that’s possible

    1. Jeffrey Davies….I expect any socialist leader will be well aware of the toilet paper and the BBC.But we have a few years to clearout amongst the PLP governance and HQ.A tough leader is a must as you point out,but the enemy within is the main problem.Interviews with the deputy leader condeming the leader and the membership will not be tolerated if we have democracy inside the Labour party.Rogue mps can and should be removed for bringing the Labour party into disrepute and has not been used.We need to get our Labour party ship shape and ready for government,because a divided party Will sink again.

  16. That’s where Corbyn left himself down on the blue ties in the labour party must be shown the door

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