Jim Murphy, who has resigned: Not waving but... Photo: Getty
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Jim Murphy resigns as leader of Scottish Labour

Jim Murphy has resigned his position after narrowly surviving a no-confidence vote.

Jim Murphy has resigned as Scottish Labour leader after narrowly surviving  a vote of no confidence in his leadership from the party's ruling NEC by three votes.

He will leave in June, allowing a new leader to take over in the summer. 

He told reporters: "I'll take some time to reflect, I'll always be on call if anyone seeks any point in calling me, I won't be a back-seat driver, I will offer my permanent, unconditional support to my successor. I will never leave the Labour Party - I love the Labour Party and the Labour Party will be back, it'll be back strong because it's built from an idea, not from machine politics. We'll be back, we'll win again."

He criticised Len McCluskey of the Unite union, who had called for him to go, saying that the union boss had blamed him for the wider election defeat of Labour. "That is a grotesque insult to the Scottish Labour party. It's a grotesque insult to thousands of volunteers from someone who pays occasional fleeting visits to our great country."

Murphy indicated he would recommend a one member, one vote policy for choosing his replacement.

His rivals paid tribute to him on Twitter, with the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon saying Murphy "deserves credit for standing up for what he believes in".

The Conservatives' Scottish leader, Ruth Davidson said he leaves a "tough gig" for whoever comes next:

 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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