Roger Helmer doesn't feel the Mail accurately reported the nuances of his "gay cure" discussion. Photo: Getty
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Ukip Newark candidate Roger Helmer slams Mail over "gay cure" story

Roger Helmer, Ukip's Newark by-election candidate, has responded to the Mail's story about him supporting "gay cures" on the NHS. Angrily.

Ukip's seal-hating, gay-baiting, victim-blaming candidate for the Newark by-election on Thursday, Roger Helmer, has had his moustache bristled by Mail on Sunday interview. The interview, conducted by political editor Simon Walters, revealed that he "says NHS should try to 'turn' gay people straight". But Helmer – whose website's strapline is, pleasingly, "Straight Talking" – has taken issue with the paper's angle. He's written an angry letter to Walters accusing him of writing "simply a pre-cooked hatchet job". 

Here's what riled him the most:

 - He asserts that rather than being pro-"gay cure" therapy, he finds the gay lobby's criticism of such supposed treatments "deeply illiberal, and that if an individual believes that a course of treatment would help him, or might help him, then in a free country he should be entitled to pursue it."

 - He particularly takes issue with the Mail reporting that he called for gay cures on the NHS. He "would vehemently oppose" this, because "no treatment should be offered on the NHS unless it is of proven clinical efficacy and demonstrable cost-effectiveness."

 - He is enraged by Walters' description of his "retired colonel’s moustache", fulminating: "Had you asked, or had you done a scrap of relevant research, you would have found that I am not a retired colonel, and that I have never served in the Armed Forces at any time."

Helmer, who has expressed support for the badger cull because "it would bring down the exorbitant price of shaving brushes", is threatening to go to the Press Complaints Commission unless he receives an apology before Thursday's by-election.

I'm a mole, innit.

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Why it's a mistake to assume that Jeremy Corbyn has already won

The shadow chief secretary to the Treasury on why the race to be Labour's leader is far from over.

They think it’s all over.

But they’re wrong.

The fat lady has yet to sing.

The commentary and reporting around the Labour party leadership campaign has started to assume we have a winner already in Jeremy Corbyn. The analysis, conjecture, predictions/complete guesswork about what happens next has begun in earnest. So we have seen speculation about who will be appointed to a Corbyn shadow cabinet, and “meet the team” pieces about Jeremy’s backroom operation.

Which is all very interesting and makes for the usual Westminster knockabout of who might be up and who might be going in the other direction pdq...

But I think it’s a mistake to say that Jeremy has already won.

Because I hear that tens of thousands of Labour party members, affiliates and registered supporters are yet to receive their ballot papers. And I am one of them. I can’t remember the last time I checked my post quite so religiously! But alas, my papers are yet to arrive.

This worries me a bit about the process. But mostly (assuming all the remaining ballots finally land in enough time to let us all vote) it tells me that frankly it’s still game on as far as the battle to become the next leader of the Labour party is concerned.

And this is reinforced when we consider the tens of thousands who have apparently received their papers but who have yet to vote. At every event I have attended in the last couple of weeks, and in at least half of all conversations I have had with members across the country, members are still making their minds up.

This is why we have to continue fighting for every vote until the end – and I will be fighting to get out every vote I possibly can for Yvette Cooper.

Over the campaign, Yvette has shown that she has a clear vision of the kind of Britain that she wants to see.

A Britain that tackles head-on the challenges of globalisation. Instead of the low-wage low-skill cul-de-sac being crafted by the Tories, Yvette's vision is for 2m more high skill manufacturing jobs. To support families she will prioritise a modern childcare system with 30 hours of fully funded child care for all 3 and 4 year olds and she will revive the bravery of post war governments to make sure 2m more homes are built within ten years.

It's an optimistic vision which taps into what most people in this country want. A job and a home.

And the responses of the focus groups on Newsnight a few days ago were telling – Yvette is clearly best placed to take us on the long journey to the 2020 general election by winning back former Labour voters.

We will not win an election without winning these groups back – and we will have to move some people who were in the blue column this time, to the red one next time. There is no other way to do it – and Yvette is the only person who can grow our party outwards so that once again we can build a winning coalition of voters across the country.