Jeremy’s re­vival sur­prised even me

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Labour did not win this month’s gen­eral elec­tion. But the fact they gained seats and pre­vented a Con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity is seen by many ob­servers as a vic­tory of sorts.

Cen­tral to that was the pop­u­lar­ity of Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn, who just a few months ago seemed to be a li­a­bil­ity to the party’s chances.

Ger­ard him­self had crit­i­cised the leader on Twit­ter but ad­mits many peo­ple were wrong about the left-winger.

“I cer­tainly think Jeremy Cor­byn has ex­ceeded peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions, my own in­cluded,”he says.

“I think he re­ally stepped up to the plate in this gen­eral elec­tion, es­pe­cially in the last few weeks, peo­ple started to see him in a new light.

“He’s shown him­self able to be a prime min­is­ter and a leader and I think that’s great and peo­ple are be­hind him on that.

“No­body walks in the fi­nal pack­age, your lead­er­ship is shaped by what hap­pens and he’s prob­a­bly been through more than most and he’s come out of it stronger which is a strength and mark of his char­ac­ter.

“We feel we are a gov­ern­ment in wait­ing.

“When you look across the House of Com­mons to the Tories, they don’t look like they are happy, they are not com­fort­able or con­fi­dent.”

Away from the cut and thrust of the cham­ber, MPs must work to­gether to try to find com­mon ground. And with Theresa May over­see­ing a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, al­beit with sup­port from the DUP, they must find com­mon ground to get things done.

Brexit is likely to dom­i­nate Bri­tish pol­i­tics for the fore­see­able fu­ture but Ger­ard says he is determined to keep his eye on other mat­ters.

“Brexit is a re­ally im­por­tant is­sue, we need to get it right,”says Ger­ard.

“The job we have as MPs, the job I have is to try and make sure th­ese other is­sues are not for­got­ten about, that they are still to the fore­front and lo­cal is­sues get the air­ing they de­serve. But there’s no get­ting away from it, it’s go­ing to be a big dom­i­nat­ing is­sue in this par­lia­ment.”

Just a few days after our in­ter­view, the DUP agreed a con­fi­dence and sup­ply deal with the Con­ser­va­tives.

It is not a prospect Ger­ard was rel­ish­ing.

“The DUP deal has been a great con­cern to me. Not only do I not want to see LGBTI rights rolled back, but I want to see them con­tin­u­ing to ad­vance so I am go­ing to be mak­ing sure that’s the case in this par­lia­ment and that any deal does not have a detri­men­tal af­fect on that.”

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