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Corbyn set to U-turn on whipping for Syria vote

18/11/2015, 10:33:45 PM

Two days after suggesting that any vote on bombing Isis in Syria would be whipped, Jeremy Corbyn is about to be forced into yet another humiliating U-turn.

Uncut understands that soundings from the whips suggest over half of the backbench party would defy a three line whip instructing them to oppose action.

The number of shadow ministers and PPSs who would defy the whip stretches into double digits.

With 231 Labour MPs and a payroll vote (shadow ministers and PPSs) of 140 MPs, this means over half of the remaining 91 MPs are likely to rebel. Combined with the frontbenchers inclined to vote against, abstain or simply not vote, the revolt is projected to top over 60 MPs.

Such a loss of authority would be devastating to the Labour leader’s shaky grip on power.

Faced with this scale of opposition, Jeremy Corbyn is set to retreat again and give his colleagues a free vote on the issue.

One MP speaking to Uncut said,

“God knows why he talked about whipping the vote. This was always going to be a nightmare for him, now he’s made it much worse. Idiot.”

The MP went on to detail the deteriorating situation within the PLP,

“Corbyn’s writ doesn’t run, my whip laughs at what they’re being asked to do. Groups are organising, you could see it plain as day during the Paris statement.”

The MP was referring to scenes that shocked watching Tories yesterday, when the Prime Minister’s statement on the G20 and Paris attacks was used by a series of Labour’s most senior MPs to lambast Jeremy Corbyn.

Ian Austin led the charge, looking pointedly at Corbyn when asking the PM his question, saying,

“I agree with everything the Prime Minister said about Syria and terrorism. Does he agree with me that those who say that Paris is reaping the whirlwind of western policy or that Britain’s foreign policy has increased, not diminished, the threats to our national security not only absolve the terrorists of responsibility, but risk fuelling the sense of grievance and resentment that can develop into extremism and terrorism?”


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The A-Z of Corbsplaining

11/10/2015, 09:59:54 PM

There’s been a lot of change in the Labour party of late – new people joining, new faces at the top and new language being used.

To help readers, Uncut has produced this handy guide to Corbsplaining, keeping you up to date with the party’s exciting new vocabulary.

Print it out, take it to your local CLP meeting and dazzle Labour friends and colleagues with your Corbsplaining skills.

Next stop, the NEC!


Assist members making their voice heard – Use veteran hard left organisers to corral a herd of £3 hipsters to deselect troublesome MPs.

Austerity – Any cut to public spending, of any kind, at any point, by any level of government. Does not include cuts to military spending, which are completely different and fine.


Britain – Socialist utopia with a progressive majority that opposes all austerity*

*Apart from at general elections

Burnhamite – A malleable substance that can bend and merge to form any shape required of it before ultimately imploding.


Corbynite – A rare and abstruse substance that destroys the trust of voters.

Campaign Group – A group of MPs who do not campaign but do tweet a lot.


Democracy – A vital part of civilisation, to be protected and supported at all costs*.

*Not applicable to residents of Iran, Russia, Donbass, Gaza, Lebanon or Venezuela.

E (more…)

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Can everyone please put their spades down?

07/07/2015, 06:06:26 PM

Denis Healy’s droll advice to stop digging when you find yourself in a hole seems lost on the current Labour frontbench. Just when it appeared that the party had officially reached Peak Disaster in May’s general election, it seems there is always more that can be done to frighten away potential voters.

Let’s take just four interventions from last week.

On Wednesday, at Prime Minister’s Questions, acting leader Harriet Harman casually committed the Labour benches to supporting a third runway for Heathrow, the central recommendation of Sir Howard Davies’ long-anticipated Airports Commission.

This is slightly surprising because there is no such commitment in the recent Labour manifesto. Indeed, there has been no discussion in the party about the change in policy. If there had been, it might have been pointed out that without ameliorative measures, a third runway will lock-in, rather than reduce, regional economic imbalances between Greater London and the North and Midlands. But, hey, it was a good line for PMQs.

Next up was Gloria de Piero, the party’s shadow equalities minister. She announced that companies employing more than 250 people (note: not the public sector) will be subject to a new regulation compelling them to undergo an “annual equal pay check” and publish information on the pay gap between their male and female employees in order, it seems, to be publicly shamed for any disparity.

Labour’s charmless offensive with business continues unabated. If there is evidence that employers pay women less for working at the same level as men, in the same organisation, on the same hours, then it’s a simple matter of enforcing the 1970 Equal Pay Act, which has outlawed such practices for the past 45 years.


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Burnham’s spin doctor is director at lobbyist firm that advises union-buster Ineos

13/06/2015, 07:00:00 AM

A lobbyist from the firm that advises energy firm Ineos, which was involved in a biter industrial dispute with Unite the Union, is now working as a key member of Andy Burnham’s leadership team.

Katie Myler, a former special adviser to Burnham when he was health secretary, now works for international lobbying company, Burson-Marsteller.

They claim on their website that their staff have provided “senior counsel” to the Ineos “CEO and management team” during “the Grangemouth industrial dispute.”

Back in 2013, 800 staff at the petrochemical plant in Falkirk threatened to go on strike after management brought forward a survival plan, which included a three-year pay freeze and changes to pensions.

Unite later relented in a bid to save jobs.

Myler was appointed as director of communications for Burnham’s campaign last week, after taking a sabbatical from Burson-Marsteller where she works as a managing director, according to a report in PR Week.

She joins fellow lobbyist, John Lehal, who is acting as campaign director.

His company, Insight Consulting Group, has worked for a string of private medical companies, according to reports in this morning’s Independent.

The revelations will come as a major embarrassment to Burnham, who has made much of his opposition to private sector involvement in the NHS.

He is also thought to have the active support of Unite and has pitched himself as the main centre-left challenger for the Labour leadership.

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Are we going to see candidates have a go at each other?

08/06/2015, 04:11:01 PM

One of the main strategic questions candidates for the Labour leadership are grappling with is the degree to which they should define their campaign by reference to the other candidates. So far, things have been cordial and bland, but there are signs this will not last much longer.

Liz Kendall was at it in her Observer column yesterday. Promising to “get power out of Westminster and into the hands of the people it affects” she said Labour had “let the Tories steal our clothes with their northern powerhouse and proposals to give Manchester more control over health services.”

This can be read as a criticism of Andy Burnham, who has opposed the devolving the NHS in the Greater Manchester area to its new metro mayor.

It’s no secret Burnham and Kendall don’t get on and publicly differ in their view about how much the private sector should be involved in providing NHS services.

Kendall, pitching herself as the modernising candidate, also claimed that “old hierarchies don’t fit today’s social networks and a culture of deference and uniformity too often stifles innovation.”

Deference is an interesting choice of word. Could she mean the same deference that saw Andy Burnham sign-off a letter to Prince Charles when he was health secretary with the antiquated term, “I have the honour to remain, Sir, your Royal Highness’s most humble and obedient servant?”

But Burnham’s been at it too. Before he ruled out standing, Tristram Hunt said Labour needed to be “on the side of families who want to shop at John Lewis, go on holiday and get a new extension”. Launching his campaign last month, Burnham said Labour must not limit its appeal “only to shoppers at John Lewis”.

But these subtle digs at opponents may be about to shift a gear. Our colleagues over at LabourList report that Yvette Cooper is set to make a speech warning the party should not take the new but untested and naive option.

Liz Kendall, it notes, was only elected in 2010. If that is indeed meant for her, then it’s a humdinger of a slap and a massive escalation in hostilities.

And we still have another 12 weeks to go.

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Cracks appearing in team Burnham

27/05/2015, 07:48:27 PM

Word reaches Uncut that all is not well in the Burnham camp. Despite being the bookies’ favourite, worries about Andy Burnham’s strategy and performance have started to bubble to the surface among his supporters.

Doubts are being raised about what has been dubbed the ‘inevitability strategy’.

Immediately following the general election defeat, Andy Burnham’s campaign mobilised, rolling out endorsements from across the PLP to establish him as the runaway favourite, suck away nominations from potential rivals and make his victory seem assured.

The thinking was that this would lead to a lower key race with other candidates and party members reluctant to attack the likely leader. Such a contest, with relatively little incident or conflict to generate media coverage, would suit a candidate like Andy Burnham who is already well-known within the party.

However, almost three weeks into the race and things are not going according to plan. One staffer of an MP committed to Burnham told Uncut,

“We got off to a good start with Rachel [Reeves] and Dan [Jarvis] signing up but since then the momentum has slowed. The boss is worried the names promised haven’t come through.”

A centrist MP who is backing Burnham, but is yet to be announced, echoed these concerns,

“Andy is being defined as the left-wing choice, he needs to balance out his support. Idiots on Twitter like Eoin Clarke aren’t helping.”

Eoin Clarke is a well-known hard left Twittervist and has been tweeting prolifically in support of Burnham.

The MP went on,

“The plan was to be out of sight, quickly. We’re not there; Liz and Yvette are competitive and this looks like it’s going to get messy.”

Jitters about strategy are fuelling concerns about Andy Burnham’s personal performance.

Already a debate has opened up within his inner circle about whether he should challenge Liz Kendall’s agenda more aggressively.


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Eagle promises to learn from “heart-breaking” election defeat as she launches bid for deputy leader

18/05/2015, 01:54:24 PM

Angela Eagle has become the fifth Labour MP to launch a bid for the party’s deputy leadership.

The Wallasey MP and former chair of the party’s National Policy Forum, said Labour had suffered “a heart-breaking election defeat.”

It was all the more painful because “the scale of it had not been anticipated.” Labour had, she said, “endured a total political and strategic failure.”

Eagle, a former pensions minister under Gordon Brown and shadow Leader of the House under Ed Miliband, launched her campaign in a video, featuring party members endorsing her candidacy.

She joins Tom Watson, Caroline Flint, Stella Creasy and Ben Bradshaw in her bid to succeed Harriet Harman.  One candidate fewer (so far) than the last deputy leadership contest in 2007.

Promising to be a “campaigning deputy” and “brutally honest about what went wrong,” Ms. Eagle said Labour needed to hear the views both of ordinary party members, but also those who did not support the party.

“I will also ensure we have a no holds barred debate about the way forward for our Party both politically and organisationally. This must be followed by robust action to learn the hard lessons and ensure that we are fit to win the many battles which lie ahead” she said.

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We’re looking for a new CEO who can take us to the next level

12/05/2015, 05:56:07 PM


We are a progressive organisation with a great heritage and we’re looking for a new CEO to regain past glories and take the organisation to the next level.

They will also be charged with setting in place a compelling new results-based strategy and developing a dynamic new narrative for the organisation.

While we retain an excellent product portfolio and a loyal and professional sales force, our recent growth figures have been unexpectedly disappointing.

We have just undergone a challenging period, which has seen several key executives leave the organisation.  It is anticipated that this post-holder will refresh the team, embedding a new high-performance culture.

Are you the person to meet these challenges head-on and take us to the next level?

Job description:

To position the organisation as the undisputed UK market leader by 2020

To begin a process of rapid and aggressive expansion, ideally leading to early market dominance in Scotland and London by 2016

To play a key role as a champion for the sector during potential market turbulence in 2017


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Pickles’ sacking shows Cameron is trying to make peace with local councils

11/05/2015, 06:33:58 PM

The cruel jibe has it that Eric Pickles’ sacking in the reshuffle frees up two seats around the Cabinet table.

Still, it appears to have come as a shock to the former communities secretary, as he was confidently predicting a return to government and was “waiting by my phone” for the call.

Local government watchers see signs here of David Cameron trying to mend fences by replacing the abrasive Pickles with the more emollient cities minister, Greg Clark, who is widely liked across the political divide.

It seems to be a version of the same tactic tried last year when the Prime Minister unceremoniously dumped Michael Gove from education, replacing him with the balm-anointing Nicky Morgan. Consolidators following revolutionaries, as it were.

Neither is it lost on Cameron that the surge of Conservative councillors from last week has seen the party take political control of the Local Government Association.

He can do without Pickles being gratuitously rude to his party’s elected grassroots, especially as he was boasting that there was still an “awful lot of money to be still saved” from council budgets.

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Has Nick Clegg really dealt with 38,000 pieces of casework?

01/05/2015, 10:46:54 AM

Amazing guy, that Nick Clegg.

Writing in the Sheffield Star, the multi-tasking Lib Dem Leader and erstwhile Deputy PM says he has still found time as a local MP to deal with “38,000 pieces of casework”.

As any MP’s staffer will attest, that’s quite a claim.

Let’s be generous and suppose what he really means is that he’s dealt with that many cases over the 10 years he’s represented Sheffield Hallam. This works out at 3,800 cases each year.

Disaggregated over 365 days, this averages out at ten cases a day. Every day. For ten years.

Now let’s assume he and his staff don’t work every single day of the year.

Taking away weekends, Bank Holidays, Christmas and annual leave entitlements means there’s about 250 working days left (okay, that’s a bit on the high side, but let’s again be generous to him).

So now the figure climbs to 15 cases a day.

Again, let’s assume he has two caseworkers out of the £129,000 he claimed for his office staffing costs last year. That’s 7.5 cases dealt with by each caseworker, every single working day of the year.

And over the course of an average working day, this means dealing with a case an hour.

But what does ‘dealing’ with a constituents’ case generally involve?

It usually means meeting a troubled/angry/desperate constituent at a local surgery, or spending half a morning dealing with a rambling phone call, or poring over indecipherable handwriting, or wading through a densely-argued email before getting to the nub of the issue.

Then it involves writing on their behalf, often hitting the brick wall of officialdom (or the steel and glass wall of corporate indifference) while seeking a response.

It doesn’t end there. There are usually meetings with officials, site visits and even public meetings to follow.

All of which is to point out that MPs’ casework is often a slow, drawn-out process.

So is it uncharitable to point out that Clegg’s grandiose claim seems somewhat, well, implausible?

If we give him the benefit of the doubt, then it’s clear from their uber-efficiency that his office should have been put in charge of single-handedly rolling-out Universal Credit.

Or, perish the thought, could it be that Clegg’s just a fibber?

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