Cor­byn needs to be less vague to avoid more awk­ward ques­tions

Rossendale Free Press - - The Rossendale Scribbler -

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

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