Skip to content
By Jim Hancock

By Jim Hancock

Anyone welcome in the Labour party!

In his blog, Jim argues that Labour doesn't need Tory right wing MP defectors after a series of local election triumphs. Read his full analysis of the current political scene and a bit of nostalgia from the Manchester of forty years ago.

DEFECTION

“It is frankly baffling that anyone could be against the government’s efforts to end the Channel crossings. Yet leftie activists and Labour politicians oppose, oppose, oppose”.

The words of the Dover MP Natalie Elphicke always seen as on the right of the Tory Party now shaking hands with Sir Keir Starmer as she “defects” to Labour. The move will do more damage to her new party than the Tories. It is an unconvincing stunt showing that Sir Keir will take any Tory on board, who seeing the writing on the wall, wants to jump ship. Luckily Elphicke hasn’t the brass neck to stand at the next election.

The Labour left is not surprisingly, enraged. No room for the former leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn to stand, but no problem for a Tory right winger with a “difficult” backstory.

This pathetic behaviour is not confined to Labour, but we have been here before when Tony Blair dumped Tory Shaun Woodward on St Helens, displacing the council leader Marie Rimmer.

Let these converts sit out the parliament as independents and then let them fight a tough marginal to earn their new spurs.

THE LOCAL ELECTIONS

Labour didn’t have to do this. They had a very good local and mayoral election, with the Blackpool South by election off the scale. Very good, but there are reasons to be cautious. The Projected National Share of the vote at 34% for Labour is well below Tony Blair’s 40% in 1997. This is partly because people have a buffet of alternatives. Green, Reform, Lib Dems, and Gaza Independents. Sir Keir Starmer’s initial support for Israel cutting off power and water to Gaza continues to resonate in the Muslim community. The economic indicators continue to turn for the better and the round up of illegal immigrants is underway.

Labour won across the country in councils with Tory marginal seats they must win. Milton Keynes, Hyndburn, heavily in Plymouth, Thurrock, Hartlepool and even Aldershot. What would Captain Mannering say?

But that Gaza problem manifested itself by Labour losing control of Oldham and George Galloway’s Workers Party defeating Labour’s Deputy leader Luthfur Rahman in the Longsight ward of Manchester. My sources tell me the council leader, Bev Craig, may not be shedding too many tears at the loss of the ambitious Mr Luthfur.

Labour took all the elected mayor positions apart from Tees Valley. They will have an interesting relationship with an incoming Starmer government.

It was a shame Andy Street lost. He should go for the parliamentary nomination in Solihull.

The Lib Dems had a good night with their southern targets around London and in the South West, but still fell short of full control of Stockport.

Reform did enough by their close third place in the Blackpool South by election to continue to worry the Tories whilst the Greens are building their presence across the country. They nearly took control of Bristol where Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister Thangham Debonnaire looks vulnerable in the Bristol Central seat.

STRINGER COMES TO POWER

Finally, a bit of political nostalgia. Forty years ago, Graham Stringer became leader of Manchester City Council. He had been suspended, along with a group of fellow councillors for being too left wing. Reinstated by the National Executive he opposed the Thatcher government without the excesses of Militant in Liverpool.

After 1987 he worked pragmatically with the Tories where he thought it would help the city. He and his colleagues laid the foundations for good governance from which successive leaders benefitted.

Downtown in Business

Hoyle on the hook

Jim reflects on the Speakership of Lindsay Hoyle, the forthcoming Rochdale by election and possibly (not another one) in Lancashire.

Read More

Not another one!

The Blackpool South by election will be the eleventh in this parliament caused by Tory MPs being thrown out for sleaze or walking off the job. Jim reports on this sad saga. He also reflects on fifty years of local council shakeups and the birth of Piccadilly Radio!

Read More