Corbyn needs to be less vague to avoid more awkward questions
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn visited Rossendale last week and was asked by a seven year old when he planned to become Prime Minister.
Mr Corbyn replied that it rather depended on when an election would be held.
And also, presumably, whether his party would win seats like Rossendale and Darwen.
It’s worth remembering that for all the praise heaped on Mr Corbyn since he ran the Tories much closers in the general election than many thought he would, the Tories have done pretty well here recently.
Local MP (and Tory) Jake Berry’s share of the vote went up to 50.8 per cent in June compared to 46.6pc in 2015, attracting 25,499 votes this year compared to 22,847 in 2015.
Indeed, you have to go back to 1997 to find a candidate who polled such a high percentage of votes – Janet Anderson for Labour.
Labour, whose candidate Alyson Barnes led an excellent campaign, increased Labour’s share by 9.4pc and polled 22,283 compared to 2015 candidate Will Straw’s 17,193 (35.1pc of votes).
Just a few weeks before the general election, the Tories took control of Lancashire County Council from Labour in a result which wiped out Labour’s representation of Rossendale at County Hall.
For Labour to stand a fighting chance in the next general election locally, local campaigners need cast iron commitments about the positive changes Labour would make here.
Mr Corbyn spoke only in vague terms about possibly supporting rail services to Rawtenstall and only in loose terms about how he might help the council reduce the number of houses being proposed for here.
And I suspect that won’t be enough should an election be called in the near future.
Jeremy Corbyn at The Whitaker Museum during his visit to the Valley