Social media erupted last night as leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey backed twelve pledges issued by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights. The list included a commitment to expel members that express transphobic views and the newly launched campaign says its aim is to rid the party of transphobia. The move by the Salford MP received both approval and recrimination online and a Twitter row quickly ensued. Some Labour members expressed concerns and thousands began sharing the hashtag #expelme in protest, which was the top trend on the platform in the UK by midnight. The bookies’ favourite to be the next deputy leader Angela Rayner supported the pledges as well, urging others to sign up. Lisa Nandy also appeared supportive, sharing the pledges and tweeting “rather than allow women to be pitted against one another, the Labour Party should always be an open and safe space for all”.
The deputy leadership candidates met in Manchester yesterday for the first Jewish Labour Movement hustings, at which the ex-Labour MP Ruth Smeeth accused contenders who were in the shadow cabinet of having remained “silent” and leaving backbenchers to combat antisemitism. The ex-MP for Stoke-on-Trent North said that she “stood up at every PLP meeting and called out antisemitism and asked for help, and I didn’t get any”.
Keir Starmer continued to maintain the line that he will not oversee a wholesale ditching of Corbynism if made Labour leader with a policy announcement last night. The Holborn and Pancras MP declared that he would keep the party’s current commitment to scrap university tuition fees and said that the party must “end the national scandal of spiralling student debt”. The policy commitment was one of ten unveiled by the leadership hopeful that included common ownership of rail, mail, water and energy and a promise for “no more illegal wars” with the introduction of a Prevention of Military Intervention Act, among others. The full list can be read here.
The Camden MP’s announcement comes ahead of televised hustings taking place tonight. The candidates will appear on BBC Newsnight at 10.30pm, and another televised debate will take place tomorrow on the Victoria Derbyshire Show. We’re also approaching the deadline for constituency party nominations, coming up this Friday. Starmer is out in front with the backing of 312 local parties – Long-Bailey is in second place with 138 and Nandy third with 59. The only candidate not to have made it onto the ballot yet, through either affiliate or local party nominations, is Emily Thornberry. If the Islington MP is to make it through to the final vote it looks like she will be leaving it right down to the wire, as she did with MP/MEP nominations. She has the support of 23 local parties so far and needs a last push of ten more to see her through. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.