Labour councillors split over Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn (centre) prepares to take to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader at a special conference at the QEII Centre in London, as defeated candidate Andy Burnham (right) applauds. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Jeremy Corbyn (centre) prepares to take to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader at a special conference at the QEII Centre in London, as defeated candidate Andy Burnham (right) applauds. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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Local Labour councillors have this week reacted to the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn as their party’s new leader.

North London MP Mr Corbyn was elected on Saturday with a massive 59.5 per cent of first preference votes, beating rivals Andy Burnham, who received 19 per cent, Yvette Cooper with 17 per cent and Liz Kendall with 4.5 per cent.

Lancaster City Council leader Eileen Blamire admitted she voted for Yvette Cooper but said she was happy to give Mr Corbyn a chance to prove himself.

“He was elected with a large mandate and you can’t argue with that,” she said. “It’s now a case of wait and see and I think we will see quite quickly how it’s going.

“I think [Corbyn] is a genuine person but I voted for Yvette because I wanted to see a woman in that position. I also voted for a woman for the deputy leader position.

“I think it’s a shame that there are no women in those positions.”

Heysham North councillor Margaret Pattison is firmly in the Corbyn camp, however.

She said: “I am absolutely over the moon. Previously there was no divide between the Labour party and the Conservatives and that was what people were telling us. They said we were all the same.

“I think he will do really well now he has the chance to shine and make that big divide vbetween the parties.”

Harbour ward councillor Darren Clifford said although he voted for Andy Burnham, he admitted Mr Corbyn’s campaign had been more organised and energised.

He said: “Andy Burnham shares the same sort of values that I have got. He has probably got a wider appeal to non-Labour voters.

“But at the end of it the answer has been very clear. We have now got a new leader and the team he has put together is an interesting one which won’t always agree with him.

“We have got to give him a go and see how he performs.

“There are a number of issues I disagree with him on, but others I think he is spot on about.”

Fellow Harbour ward councillor Janice Hanson voted for Yvette Cooper, preferring to see a woman in charge.

She said: “I think the result took us all by surprise.

“I didn’t personally vote for [Corbyn] but now he is in place we have got to make the best of it.

“He is our leader so we will see how it goes. I do not agree with all his views but some of them I do and we just have to hope he can give this government a real going over and hold them to account because we haven’t had that lately.”

Lancaster MP Cat Smith said: “The Labour party’s leadership election was a historic moment when we saw the initial outsider win the leadership with a huge mandate on a landslide result – with almost 60 per cent of votes, more support than any other leader in the past.

“I’m delighted to say a record number of local people took part in this ballot as the membership of the Lancaster and Fleetwood Labour Party is now at record levels. We welcome all new local members and supporters.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s first actions as leader – to attend a rally supporting refugees and a mental health awareness event – indicate the direction and priorities of his leadership. This will be a new kind of politics which I’m delighted to be playing a part in.”