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Daily Mirror
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A daily tabloid paper, The Mirror has support Labour in every election since 1945.
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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1997 election endorsement: Labour

2002 election endorsement: Labour
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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The Mirror’s View: John Smith was the best we ever had – please don’t quash his legacy. 

The country and the Labour Party are in mourning. John Smith was the best we ever, and now never, had: he was humble, dignified and principled, stuck to Labour’s values while successfully adapting them to a modern age, got the party back in government and saw a successful tenure as Prime Minister. The economy and our finances are in strong shape (hopefully soon strong enough to give our public services the cash they need). Crime is down. Fairness is coming back to society, and the day of £1 an hour wages and the plight of mass family poverty looks like it may be far behind us. Our tenuous relationship with Europe is being repaired and Britain once again feels like a global leader. 

That the Tories have picked their battle on a single issue – the euro – and other meaningless controversies like the Millennium Dome speaks volumes. 

One thing is clear: John Smith is adored by the country as well as the Labour Party. Why would the Labour Party and country want a sudden shift brought about by unexpected tragedy? 

It is clear Margaret Beckett, as Deputy Prime Minister and currently acting Prime Minister, would have been the best natural successor for the Smith agenda. But she has ruled herself out of frontline politics altogether. So now there, sadly, is anxiety that sudden change is very well on the horizon. 

The Mirror refuses to take any view on the leadership race in its primacy, and holds respect for those who are running for leader: Elizabeth Tanner has been loyal to John Smith and a stellar public servant. Ben Maulty has similarly had a history of dedicating himself to social justice. Even Harri Pollitt, despite his views being so niche they may not be able to get him on the ballot, has always been a reliable and loyal ally to Unions, to farmers and to the Welsh people. 

But Mr. Pollitt would be clearly pushing for change and undoubtedly would have found Smith’s pragmatism and consideration something to be criticised, not celebrated. The economic policies of the 1970’s are not something Britain, and even the British left, want: there are safer and more effective routes to achieving the kind of social justice Mr. Pollitt clearly wants. John Smith made that clear.

And where does that leave the two candidates who have made the ballot? The simple answer is we really don’t know, but we have an idea: both candidates are aligned with ‘Progress’, the Labour faction that had dedicated the party to modernisation following frustration at John Smith’s attempts and failures to reform the party. Their rhetoric will likely be eerily similar, and will leave members unsure how to differentiate them, but as the race goes on it is very likely we’ll see some stark differences. 

In fact, the Mirror, and many others in the press and in the Labour Party, has received a copy of Maulty’s drafted manifesto and have read it for ourselves. The first question is the most obvious: Labour’s 1997 manifesto has already been granted a significant mandate from the British people, why would we want another one? If Maulty’s vision is so distinct it is deserving of its own manifesto, it should probably be put to the British people over just Labour members. 

But the document may serve a strategic purpose – it is designed with rhetoric that can win over some in Progress, but with policy that could also win over the soft left that has significant influence of the party as well as gain a supplementary vote from the hard left of the party who are likely to have to pick between what they view as the lesser of two evils. John Smith successfully did this and united all wings of the party in 1992. Instead of disavowing his old leader, Maulty would do well to look to him for inspiration if he wishes to be a lynchpin that keeps the Labour Party together. 

But the document may be a double edged sword: when you have a manifesto that has Labour right taxation promises and soft left to often explicitly socialist spending promises, eyebrows are going to be raised and elements of the right wing media are already sneering. Ben Maulty may unite the whole party, but not in the way he wants: all wings of the party may find him disingenuous, if anything. 

What does this mean for Elizabeth Tanner, who has been interestingly tight lipped coming up to and following her leadership bid? If her words in the press are anything to go by, she may be the continuity candidate – and that is in itself the view the Mirror and most likely Labour members can get behind. 

The issue is, as both candidates are from the Progress wing, Tanner is likely going to need to form her own specific vision. And the Mirror makes it clear that such a vision must be the vision John Smith gave us in 1997 – perhaps, with a renewed mandate from the party (though of course government matters must come first) she could even promise to complete the modernisation of the Labour Party Smith couldn’t deliver. 

But she must not be tempted to push herself too far to the centre in order to be distinct: Smith’s brand of modernisation was a consensus one that won elections but without a doubt stuck to Labour Party principles. Some prominent Labour politicians, such as the Home Secretary Tony Blair, are rumoured to be dissatisfied and feel the party didn’t go quite centre enough. 

That vision is one that probably has to be rejected as much as the cries for Labour to go leftwards: John Smith’s view that Labour must not bow to the altar of nationalisation should not lead to Tony Blair’s one of us bowing to privatisation. And while there is a case for public sector reform, it should not be done with the kind of glee we would expect from the Tories – neither should it clash with Labour values. Elizabeth Tanner should probably remember that going forward. 

Who best follows John Smith's legacy may be best reflected in the bloc of Labour MPs and voters who come from the Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) wing of the party, the wing Smith most strongly identified with and thanks to his influence was elevated from a niche group to a significant influencer of the party, not just in their numbers but in their ideological flexibility: within the CSM you will find views that will range from being so socialist they'll make Dennis Skinner gasp to views that could make some Tories blush. 

But overall, they work together as a functional bloc and bring their Christian views to a neat consensus. There is a chance they could change everything, and both of the current leadership candidates have acknowledged that: Elizabeth Tanner has been nominated and will likely find a supporter in CSM member and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Sean Manning, and Ben Maulty is running on a joint ticket with the CSM's resident firebrand Belinda MacDonald - she is going for Deputy Leader. It is not just right to pledge a continuity of John Smith's legacy for this reason, but due to the CSM's increased influence it may be the best way to get the party on board. 

That is the Mirror’s view. It might not be sexy, but it electorally appealing to the party and the country. John Smith may be dead, but his strong legacy must be kept alive and preserved at any cost. Whoever can promise that has our vote.
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The war inside the Labour Party continues. A senior source has reached out to the Daily Mirror to hit back on accusations published elsewhere regarding the Tanner campaign, essentially saying its normal practice. 

The source tells us:

Quote:Despite media rumours about the Tanner campaign offering roles or concessions for votes it is actually the Maulty campaign doing this. From a conversation a prominent MP had with Mr Maulty "Is there anything that you would specifically look for to gain your support?" The idea that policy is open to bidders or even cabinet positions is abhorrent and should be discussed wider. Also important is for people to understand it isn't just one leadership contender taking part in this behaviour but is systematic and deeply concerning. 

With the Labour results expected soon, it seems that the Labour Party can barely hold itself together. While senior sources inside the party are content to leak against each other, the result might be an unfortunate one: a Tory government.
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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Safety No Longer A Priority In A Privatised Age.
Op-Ed by John McDonnell MP.

The privatisation of the railways has been an unmitigated disaster for everyone but the shareholders. Complaints about high fares, late trains, and poor service abound. But we may be about to add a further, more terrifying, complaint to the privatised railways: a lack of safety, jeopardising passenger safety.

Last month, we saw the devastating accident involving a GNER train travelling from London to Leeds at a speed of around 115 mph coming off the rails near Hatfield. Subsequent investigation suggests the possibility of a broken rail as the cause of the crash: should that prove to be the case, then we must have a discussion about the role of Railtrack.

Whatever the cause of the crash is, we must not forget that this is the third major crash in three years, following Southall and Paddington. Hatfield joins Southall and Paddington in highlighting the gross deficiencies in rail safety.

At Southall a driver passed through a red signal; the safety devices on his train which could have prevented the accident were not working. At Paddington, a poorly trained driver passed through a red signal; he was unfamiliar with the key section of line outside one of Britain's biggest stations. How can it be right that private companies are putting the safety of hundreds of passengers in the hands of ill-trained individuals?

And the lack of focus on public safety resulting from privatisation is not just a concern in the railway industry. The bus sector too has been affected by claims that cut-throat competition and pursuit of profit at all costs have endangered the health of passengers.

It is clear that we need greater investment and regulation of the transport security to ensure passenger safety and security. A lack of both has put the public in danger. Second-best safety equipment, ageing rollingstock and a poorly maintained track expose the frailties of the system as a rising number of passengers use it.

We owe it to the victims of three railway crashes in three years to not take the tenants of privatisation as fact. It is time to investigate the role private profit has in causing declining public safety and service. Maybe the only way we can keep people safe is by injecting public ethics back into our transport system?
Liberal Democrat Adviser

Admin for Foreign & Defence, Health & Social Security, and Local Government, Regions and Devolution. 

“If socialism is a matter of total abstinence and a good filing cabinet, some of us will fall by the wayside.” - Anthony Crosland.
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Same Old Story, Same Old Tories

Saxon's Team Neglects Child Poverty Debate

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Harold Saxon has tried to pain himself as a moderate candidate, and no doubt in future as people look at the disastrous Tory governments of past and the poverty, recession and unemployment that came with them they will want something new. If Harold Saxon was smart he'd know the Tories would need a major rebrand. Thankfully, we know he either isn't very smart or he's shown his true stripes much too early.

We're not talking about his disastrous Newsnight interview where he promised to strip poor University students of their hard earned cash or to flog our ambulance services off to the highest bidder, we're talking about an important piece of legislation the government introduced.

The Chancellor, Sean Manning, made it clear that enough was enough of the Tory mantra of past: no longer would kids go to school hungry, no longer would their prospects be determined by the government's failure to act, child poverty should be a thing of the past within a generation. And The Mirror commends them for this.

What was the Tories' response? Maybe we would expect them to pretend to care, like Saxon flimsily did during the paternity and maternity leave debate. Maybe we'd at least expect them to show their true blue Tory colours and question how the government would do this, which is insidious but at least shows pretence of holding the government to account - and whatever your view of child poverty, to contribute to the debate you must care a little.

We had nothing. Nothing from the Leader of the Opposition. Nothing from the Shadow Chancellor. Nothing from a single Tory.

Because we know what they think: if the child isn't theirs, cooped up in Eton, it isn't worth the time, energy or money to feed, clothe, nurse or educate. It's the same old story and the same old Tories - lets make sure they never get into government and rehash their disastrous tenure again. 
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Does the United Kingdom have a functional Parliament? From the looks of Hansard recently, the answer is a resounding no. 

We have just one question for Harold Saxon and his Conservative Party: where are you? The Secretary of State for Public Services spoke in the House of Commons on the Sure Start Programme. No Tories rose to debate. Defence procurement was announced in the House. Nobody contributed to that debate except for our now Prime Minister Callum Finch. Local government taxation is under review? Silent Saxon has nothing to say on that, and neither does the Shadow Chancellor. A statement was just delivered regarding vaccinations, and we will wait to see if the Tories have to say anything on that. But their track record leads us to believe that they'll be silent there as well. 

For a man who wants to be Prime Minister, Saxon sure is quiet. But what makes it even worse is that this is not just a matter of the Leader of the Opposition being busy putting together a comprehensive policy agenda. No, we know that not to be the case because his frontbench is just as silent as he is. The 1997 election results showed that the Conservatives had lost all credibility with the British public. A year out from an election, with two unelected Prime Ministers who have, so far, not accomplished a lot, the Conservatives should be in contention. Polls would have us believe that they are. But, from their attitude, it appears that the Conservatives think the best policy is to shut up, smile and hope it works. 

Even on their own motions, the Conservatives are silent. The Tory deputy leader, Cyril Kos, moved a motion in the House. He uttered a few sentences on the matter, sat down and that was the end of that. Granted, it was a weak debate all around—Labour offered a weak response from the Shadow Chancellor—but to not turn up in support of your own colleagues? What are the Conservatives doing?

Silence, however, is a dangerous thing. Silence can make people wonder: what aren't you saying? And so, that's the question that must be asked of Saxon. What aren't you or your frontbenchers saying? Are you hiding a socially conservative agenda for government? Are you hiding your economic plan? Or are you completely enamoured with the job that Labour is doing, and have nothing to criticise?

We have some simple advice, which usually we're not inclined to give to Tories. Nonetheless, we'll make an exception: speak up, Saxon. The voters deserve to hear from you.
Media | Home Office
Infrastructure, Energy & Environment | Chief Whips

When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans. -Jean Chrétien
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Tenants cheated over deposits

Hundreds of thousands of tenants claim to have been cheated by rogue landlords who refuse to pay back their rent deposit, a survey has suggested.

A quarter of tenants have lost at least part of their deposit at the end of a tenancy in the past five years, according to a survey carried out on behalf of Shelter and Citizens Advice. The groups are calling for tough new measures to protect tenants' cash.

The two groups estimate that there are 2.2 million tenants, about 70% of whom have paid a deposit averaging around £500 each. The groups want Parliament to include the setting up of a statutory national tenancy deposit scheme, to protect people's money and resolve disputes, as part of the Tenant Fees Bill currently going through the parliamentary process.

Under present rules, tenants who feel they have had their deposits withheld unfairly often have little choice but to resort to court action to recover their money. Court action can be expensive, time consuming and there is no guarantee of ultimately recovering the deposit.

"We must protect tenants from the cowboy landlords who ride off with their tenants' money without any concern for the hardship they cause," said, Adam Sampson, director of Shelter. "These landlords also do great damage to the reputation of the vast majority of good landlords," Mr Sampson added.
Acting Head Admin
Speaker of the House of Commons
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Cabinet Office and the Home Office
Poll wrangler and election psephologist

I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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A Traitor to His Cause

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Solomon Trevitt is a traitor to his cause who clearly cares more about his ego than ensuring the Tories, who have neglected vital debates on child poverty, produced budgets that give nothing to deprived regions such as Scotland and Wales and have expressed a desire to privatise our ambulances, are kept out of government. 

The Queen's Speech is a confidence vote. If the Queen's Speech fails, the government goes down. Trevitt understands this. The Queen's Speech isn't about nitpicking at minor details - that can come later - it's about ensuring government continues to function smoothly. Not only did Solomon Trevitt continue to jeopardise this, but he had the audacity to do it to defend unelected Lords!

Labour made it clear in their manifesto that they would tackle problems of corruption in the upper chamber - people having political careers on the basis of their birth. We have to ask ourselves: is it much better if political appointees reach that decision? Is that what John Smith would have wanted?

It's clear the upper chamber must be elected by the people too - it is bold and right of the government to decide this. Trevitt is on the side of rich Tory Lords by defending their vested interests and entrenched privilege and he is on the side of Tory opportunists in the Commons by giving them one less hurdle to Downing Street. He is a traitor to what he claims to be his cause.

It was right, on that basis alone, that Trevitt be sacked. But on top of that it was revealed Solomon was himself a slimy figure who hired people close to him. It's clear on every issue he cannot be trusted, and his response - to say that the level of corruption was fine because it was legal and apparently widespread - shows he has the same entitled attitude so many of the Tory lords he is so keen to defend show. 

Callum Finch did the completely right response: show Trevitt the back door and order a full investigation to get to the root of the issue. Sadly, he is likely to suffer for it - but the government must know that they are right, keep calm and carry on.
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Amnesty International calls for 'measured and reasonable' debate on trafficking. 

Amnesty International, the NGO which focuses on Human Rights, has released a press statement where it has endorsed the Labour government's 'commitment to human rights', shining particular praise on the Home Secretary, Lillian Nichols for her 'unwavering dedication to a humane and just system which has human rights at its heart.'

The statement said: "In the aftermath of brutal attacks in the United States and France, it is too easy to undervalue the rights of human rights that extremists detest. Amnesty International applauds the government, and particularly the Home Secretary Lillian Nichols, for its unflinching support for human rights.

On a variety of bills, including the International Criminal Court Act, it has shown that it will keep pushing for the legacy John Smith left when he pioneered the Human Rights Act - an agenda where Human Rights will always be a priority, not just a secondary consideration to abandon when it feels easy or convenient.

The Home Secretary's measured approach to human trafficking is also worthy of praise. Amnesty International have campaigned to have this issue be recognised for all too long, and the Conservative Party are completely right to assert that human trafficking is a concerning issue that requires a clear legal framework and the full force of the law to tackle. 

However, it is wrong to resolve one human rights issue by raising multiple others. Mandatory minimum sentences lead to a flawed and rigged justice system that contradicts the very founding principles of Western democracy. We have felt encouraged to see the government acknowledge the severity of this issue, alongside many others, in a measured and reasonable manner."

(Note: this is a Labour reward).
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Shelter Endorses Labour

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Shelter, the UK's organisation which seeks to end homelessness and bad housing, today endorsed the Labour Party as "the best hope for ending the blight of homelessness in this country."

In an interview with the BBC, the founder of Shelter, Rev Bruce Kenrick, said: "With rising house prices and the blight of homelessness still all too prevalent in Britain, it is vital that the incoming government is one which puts the battle of fighting homelessness at the core of its agenda. After giving the parties a fair hearing, I know that the Labour Party is the party that can be trusted on this issue. 

In the most recent budget Labour's rise in housing benefit, as well as funding the rough sleeping unit and rent subsidies show only they have a plan to protect some of Britain's most vulnerable. It's not enough, but it's a start, and I fear if they do lose power it will be the end."

When questioned for comment, Shelter agreed with Kenrick's comments: "We have been enthused to see the government take action to truly try and secure stable and humane housing for everyone in Britain. As well as the action taken in the Budget, we were extremely pleased with Labour's proactive role in strengthening the tenants fees act to give tenants the vital safeguard they need. We hope to see another Labour government fight for the cause."
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National Association of Head Teachers Endorses the Labour Party

The National Association of Head Teachers, the Trade Union which represents those who hold leadership positions in the education sector, has released a statement endorsing the Labour Party. 

The statement read: "For too long, despite promises suggesting otherwise, education has been an issue long neglected by successive governments. We have seen class sizes reach breaking point and the hard work of teachers and headteachers severely underpaid and underappreciated. We need a government that we can trust represents the interests of our members, and the students which our members fight and care for every day.

We have found this government has been remarkably strong on the issue. Rather than giving platitudes about giving headteachers more control, what schools really need is more funding and better conditions. That is what the Labour government has promised - it came into the election in 1997 promising to radically reduce class sizes and came into the election in 2002 having delivered a budget that has given the most funding to education in generations. An education system that was once on the brink appears to be back on its feet.

It's absolutely integral that such a bold vision continues, not just for our members, but for pupils and for the long term health of Britain's economy and its competitiveness. It appears that Callum Finch and the Labour Party are still wedded to that principle: promising more schools and more teachers. We hope that they are elected and continue to deliver on that."
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On Our Own Two Feet: A Pitch to Get Back to Basics
By Anthony Cacciatore MP

In some weeks before the end of the election campaign, I had traveled down to London to join my fellow Labour candidate Alexander Krugo at an event in Dagenham, where voters were concerned with the loss of manufacturing jobs. There the largest Ford plant in the U.K. announced that it would stop making cars in Britain, putting 3,000 workers into risk of losing their jobs. People who had been in the industry for years were suddenly worried about their ability to provide for their families and what the future before them would look like. 

For all the days and weeks of campaigning by the higher-ups in the Labour Party, not one mention was made of the situation in Dagenham or the state of manufacturing as a whole. Of course that’s not to say that legitimate issues were not discussed and pushed for, as they were, but we had made the unfortunate decision to let our guard down on the matter whilst the fired-rehired Shadow Chancellor hammered away (albeit incredulously) on the point. And this wasn’t the only issue where this was the case. On traditionally left-wing issues which played to core Labour supporters, such as social care or tax evasion, we allowed ourselves to be outflanked by the Conservatives.

On May 30th, thirty-six Labour MPs lost reelection, with swings as high as 9% in core Labour regions such as Birmingham. About three-hundred voters in a country of fifty-nine million stood in the way of the Prime Minister himself being the thirty-seventh. I can say that the most positive outcome of this election is the fact that we will not have to see Headline Harry going into Number 10 anytime soon. But the fact remains that this has been a bittersweet victory, with traditional Labour areas in the Midlands and London being lost. It is entirely justified that if Labour is to continue on as a force for compassionate governance in Britain, we must take a moment to look into the reasons why the result happened the way that it did and reflect on that so that we may continue being a force for compassionate governance. It is our duty to reach out to groups all across Britain to help implement our agenda: our bright pupils in university, to our pensioners on social care, to our workers in need of a helping hand. We need to take a long hard focus to listen to the concerns of all voters, not just the swing voters in swing seats. 

And our policies ought to reflect our rhetoric. When we talk about better economic opportunity at the bottom, we ought to talk about a living wage. When we talk about affordable care for our elderly, we ought to talk about meaningful investments and reform we can bring into the system. When we talk about making life easier for young people, we ought to talk about tuition assistance programs which sets them up with work experience before they even graduate, as well as greater focus on vocational education to prepare Britain’s new workforce. It’s only natural that people want straight-forward, no nonsense answers when the issues of their health, education, or job is what’s being discussed, and it’s our duty as public servants to deliver.

Meanwhile, we cannot allow the Tories to steal our thunder on the touchstone issues of the day. The Labour Party has every right to be the Party of Security, including security in jobs, security in wages, security in health, and security in the nation. We can’t let that mantle fall to the Conservative Party, whose only claim to it is built on false hopes and empty promises. We are the party who can deliver genuine solutions to these issues and bring our communities together again through greater peace of mind. These are qualities that are distinctly Labour and should not be compromised upon. It is with this in mind that I caution my fellow MPs who believe that the easy way through the “hung” parliament is through Mrs. Flair and the Liberal Democrats. Too much has already been lost since 2000 and the embrace of the unbridled free-market economics, and Mrs. Flair will only exasperate this process. That is not a reasonable choice we can make if we care about the long-term survival of Labour and what we represent as a party.

The fact remains that this government has a working majority, and it should act like it does. We have no need for a compromise-and-supply deal with those who don’t even reflect our party’s values. We as a party need to recognize that policies and decisions have a real impacts on everyday people, and we need to be fully aware of that fact as the party of government. We need to be unabashed in our support for working people and helping them deal with the plights they find themselves in.

It’s time we stand on our own two feet, get back to basics, and get back to work for the British people.
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