Emily Thornberry's controversial tweet.
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Emily Thornberry resigns from shadow cabinet over tweeted picture of St George flags

The shadow attorney general has resigned after tweeting a photo of a house in Strood displaying three England flags. 

Today was supposed to be a day of disaster for the Tories, with the party already conceding defeat to Ukip in the Rochester by-election. But it has turned into one for Labour. Emily Thornberry has just resigned as shadow attorney general over her careless tweet from Rochester of a house in Strood with three England flags flying from its windows.

She was immediately criticised by members of all parties, with Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, declaring that it was "derogatory and dismissive of the people” He told Mail Online it was “like the Labour Party has been hijacked by the north London liberal elite and it’s comments like that which reinforce that view”.

Thornberry, the MP for Islington South and Finsbury, initially defended her tweet, telling the Guardian: "I’ve been down in Rochester, you know, and I’ve been tweeting one or two quotes that, what people have said to me on the door step, and images that I’ve seen … and then I came across a house that was covered absolutely from the roof all the way down to the ground with England flags, they couldn’t even see out of the window. It was an amazing image so I took a photograph of it and I put it on Twitter."

But after being reprimanded by a reportedly "furious" Ed Miliband, she tweeted an apology for "any offence caused" saying: "People should fly the England flag with pride!" That, most assumed, would be the end of it. But her resignation means what some regarded as a side-story has, to the delight of the Tories, been put centre-stage. Yet with outrage over the tweet building (see tomorrow's Sun front page for instance), Labour clearly regarded her departure as an essential act of damage limitation. 

As I said earlier, Thornberry's post, with its tone of disdain for "white van man", aptly demonstrated the split between Labour's "beer drinkers" and its metropolitan "wine drinkers" (see Tim Bale's recent Staggers post for more on this tension). In this struggle for the party's soul, Ed Miliband's team clearly felt he couldn't be seen to side with former. Labour will hope that the short-term damage inflicted by her resignation will be outweighed by the longer-term damage avoided. 

A Labour spokesman told me: "The one thing which Ed is absolutely determined to do is to make sure that we have a chance of being a one-term opposition. He's absolutely determined that we do not do anything to jeopardise that. Emily came to that conclusion as well."

Here is her statement:

Earlier today I sent a tweet which has caused offence to some people. That was never my intention and I have apologised. However I will not let anything distract from Labour’s chance to win the coming general election. I have therefore tonight told Ed Miliband I will resign from the shadow cabinet.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Appreciate the full horror of Nigel Farage's pro-Trump speech

The former Ukip leader has appeared at a Donald Trump rally. It went exactly as you would expect.

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce Nigel Farage is at it again.

The on-again, off-again Ukip leader and current Member of the European Parliament has appeared at a Donald Trump rally to lend his support to the presidential candidate.

It was, predictably, distressing.

Farage started by telling his American audience why they, like he, should be positive.

"I come to you from the United Kingdom"

Okay, good start. Undeniably true.

"– with a message of hope –

Again, probably quite true.

Image: Clearly hopeful (Wikipedia Screenshot)

– and optimism.”

Ah.

Image: Nigel Farage in front of a poster showing immigrants who are definitely not European (Getty)

He continues: “If the little people, if the real people–”

Wait, what?

Why is Trump nodding sagely at this?

The little people?

Image: It's a plane with the name Trump on it (Wikimedia Commons)

THE LITTLE PEOPLE?

Image: It's the word Trump on the side of a skyscraper I can't cope with this (Pixel)

THE ONLY LITTLE PERSON CLOSE TO TRUMP IS RIDING A MASSIVE STUFFED LION

Image: I don't even know what to tell you. It's Trump and his wife and a child riding a stuffed lion. 

IN A PENTHOUSE

A PENTHOUSE WHICH LOOKS LIKE LIBERACE WAS LET LOOSE WITH THE GILT ON DAY FIVE OF A PARTICULARLY BAD BENDER

Image: So much gold. Just gold, everywhere.

HIS WIFE HAS SO MANY BAGS SHE HAS TO EMPLOY A BAG MAN TO CARRY THEM

Image: I did not even know there were so many styles of Louis Vuitton, and my dentists has a lot of old copies of Vogue.

Anyway. Back to Farage, who is telling the little people that they can win "against the forces of global corporatism".

 

Image: Aaaaarggghhhh (Wikipedia Screenshot)

Ugh. Okay. What next? Oh god, he's telling them they can have a Brexit moment.

“... you can beat Washington...”

“... if enough decent people...”

“...are prepared to stand up against the establishment”

Image: A screenshot from Donald Trump's Wikipedia page.

I think I need a lie down.

Watch the full clip here:

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland