Labour’s self-confidence grows, while latest Cummings claims add fuel to fire

Sienna Rodgers
© T Salci/
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You know what they say: success begets success. Labour’s standing in the polls has improved significantly in recent weeks, and consistent leads have brought about a widening gap. The latest finds Labour on 43% and the Tories on 30%. Watching key members of the new shadow cabinet speak over the weekend at the Fabians conference, they came across as utterly determined to win. Wes Streeting has outlined “Labour’s plan to live well with Covid” in a piece for LabourList where he explains: “we know it’s not enough for the Tories to lose the next election, we’re determined to win it”. The party is trying to take advantage of Tory chaos not only by condemning it but also by setting out a domestic policy agenda. As LabourList has reported, Labour is held back by internal problems, but the drive is there. “Our self-confidence as a party has returned,” says Streeting. Meanwhile, the Tories are firefighting every day thanks to their pyromaniac Prime Minister, whose lack of leadership leaves the government little time to look at how to confront the crucial cost-of-living crisis.

The latest development in ‘partygate’ has got Dominic Cummings splashed across front pages today. Boris Johnson has claimed that he attended the May 2020 party but thought it was a “work event”, and journalists have been told that he did not know about the “bring your own booze!” email before or after it was sent. Let’s be honest, he “misleads” parliament regularly and does not bother correcting the record – but if he is shown to have deliberately lied on this occasion, it will be taken seriously. And that is exactly what has happened according to a quick blog update from the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser, who says he told Johnson something like: “Martin’s invited the building to a drinks party, this is what I’m talking about, you’ve got to grip this madhouse.” While Cummings is not considered the most trustworthy of sources, this story has been double-sourced by The Guardian and Sky’s Beth Rigby. No 10 continues to deny that Johnson knew what was going on in his own garden.

The elections bill passed in the House of Commons last night. This means proposals for mandatory voter ID and new powers for ministers over the independent Electoral Commission have been approved. Labour has argued that adding an administrative hurdle will result in voter suppression. And it’s all unnecessary: as the Electoral Reform Society says, “the real threats to political integrity are unregulated lobbying, dodgy donations and foreign interference”. But the Tories managed to rush it through. In bad news for the Conservatives, however, last night also saw the House of Lords oppose a raft of measures in the policing bill. Some plans – such as suspicionless stop and search, and creating a new offence for “locking on” – were introduced late in the process and cannot be reintroduced in the Commons. Congratulations to Labour in the Lords for helping to inflict a series of key defeats on the government.

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