Yes she Kendall? Photo: Getty Images
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25 Labour parliamentary candidates back Liz Kendall for the Labour leadership

25 parliamentary candidates from across the country have endorsed Liz Kendall's bid for the Labour leadership. 

25 defeated parliamentary candidates have endorsed Liz Kendall in an open letter to the New Statesman. The candidates – who stood in seats both inside and outside Labour’s target list and come from across the party – say that they “believe the person best-placed to take Labour forwards and to win in the places where we lost on May 7 is Liz Kendall”.

They highlight that her recent pledge to turn Britain into a “living wage society”  shows she has the right ideas, “as well as the energy” to lead Labour. The candidates include Emily Benn, Tony Benn’s granddaughter, Matt Turmaine, the candidate for Kendall’s home seat of Watford, and Vicky Fowler, the candidate for Nuneaton, the seat that has become a symbol for the shock rout within the Labour party.

 

The full letter is below:

 

At the recent election, Labour lost seats across the country and failed to win in the areas where this election was decided.

We must now decide how we respond to the challenges we face as a party.

We believe that the person best-placed to take Labour forwards and to win in the places where we lost on May 7 is Liz Kendall. 

Her plan for a Living Wage society shows she has the ideas, as well as the energy, to lead our party. 

She can win back the trust of the British people and is committed to engaging both the party and local communities about how we shift power away from the centre and put it into the hands of those who need it most.

Liz is the fresh start that our party needs. As we seek to come back from two painful defeats, Liz Kendall is the right person to lead that fight.

Signed

Jess Asato Norwich North

Jack Abbott Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

Gareth Barrett Epping Forest

Emily Benn Croydon South

Nick Bent Warrington South

Michael Borio Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner

John Fisher Aldridge Brownhills

Vicky Fowler Nuneaton

Kate Godfrey Stafford

Vicky Groulef Reading West

Nicola Heaton Mid Derbyshire

Sarah Jones Croydon Central

Naushabah Khan Rochester and Strood

Ollie Middleton Bath

Tristan Osbourne Chatham and Aylesford

Andrew Pakes Milton Keynes South

Jason Pandya-Woods Sleaford

Liam Preston Brentwood and Ongar

Steve Race East Devon

Alex Sanderson Chelsea and Fulham

Michael Taylor Hazel Grove

Nick Thulbourn North West Cambridgeshire

Matt Turmaine Watford

Julian Ware-Lane Southend West

Mary Wimbury Aberconwy

 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics. 

Photo: Getty
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Jeremy Corbyn sat down on train he claimed was full, Virgin says

The train company has pushed back against a viral video starring the Labour leader, in which he sat on the floor.

Seats were available on the train where Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor, Virgin Trains has said.

On 16 August, a freelance film-maker who has been following the Labour leader released a video which showed Corbyn talking about the problems of overcrowded trains.

“This is a problem that many passengers face every day, commuters and long-distance travellers. Today this train is completely ram-packed,” he said. Is it fair that I should upgrade my ticket whilst others who might not be able to afford such a luxury should have to sit on the floor? It’s their money I would be spending after all.”

Commentators quickly pointed out that he would not have been able to claim for a first-class upgrade, as expenses rules only permit standard-class travel. Also, campaign expenses cannot be claimed back from the taxpayer. 

Today, Virgin Trains released footage of the Labour leader walking past empty unreserved seats to film his video, which took half an hour, before walking back to take another unreserved seat.

"CCTV footage taken from the train on August 11 shows Mr Corbyn and his team walked past empty, unreserved seats in coach H before walking through the rest of the train to the far end, where his team sat on the floor and started filming.

"The same footage then shows Mr Corbyn returning to coach H and taking a seat there, with the help of the onboard crew, around 45 minutes into the journey and over two hours before the train reached Newcastle.

"Mr Corbyn’s team carried out their filming around 30 minutes into the journey. There were also additional empty seats on the train (the 11am departure from King’s Cross) which appear from CCTV to have been reserved but not taken, so they were also available for other passengers to sit on."

A Virgin spokesperson commented: “We have to take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case.

A spokesman for the Corbyn campaign told BuzzFeed News that the footage was a “lie”, and that Corbyn had given up his seat for a woman to take his place, and that “other people” had also sat in the aisles.

Owen Smith, Corbyn's leadership rival, tried a joke:

But a passenger on the train supported Corbyn's version of events.

Both Virgin Trains and the Corbyn campaign have been contacted for further comment.

UPDATE 17:07

A spokesperson for the Jeremy for Labour campaign commented:

“When Jeremy boarded the train he was unable to find unreserved seats, so he sat with other passengers in the corridor who were also unable to find a seat. 

"Later in the journey, seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was travelling with were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.

"Passengers across Britain will have been in similar situations on overcrowded, expensive trains. That is why our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

A few testimonies from passengers who had their photos taken with Corbyn on the floor can be found here