Jeremy Corbyn doesn't want "charity" to get selected. Photo: Flickr/Garry Knight
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Jeremy Corbyn is against "charity nominations", but would he accept a few coppers from Andy Burnham?

Surely Jeremy Corbyn owes it to his leftwing supporters to accept a helping hand from Andy Burnham, if he's within touching distance of the ballot paper?

Jeremy Corbyn has 18 MPs to win over to reach the Labour leadership ballot paper. With nominations closing next Monday, it looks like he's running out of time.

And selection looks even less likely now he has come out against "charity nominations" from other candidates, telling Total Politics he wants "people to choose of their own volition, I don’t want charity".

But considering Corbyn entered the race to broaden the debate and provide an anti-austerity candidate, would he really undermine his goal by rejecting nominations "lent" by other candidates if he were within a whisker of reaching 35?

Andy Burnham has said he's open to giving Corbyn a "helping hand", as long as it wouldn't provide his leftwing rival with an "artificial" level of support.

I hear Burnham would be happy to lend one or two supporters to squeak Corbyn over the line, but wouldn't want to hand over a whole batch. Jitters remain in the Burnham camp about "shy Cooper" supporters who are yet to come out of the woodwork, which mean they don't want to give away more nominations than necessary. (Burnham and Yvette Cooper currently have the greatest parliamentary backing, with 60 and 43 nominations, respectively).

So would Corbyn accept Burnham's charity if it meant he tossed one or two coppers into his nomination cap? Surely his supporters would appreciate him accepting some good old-fashioned redistribution of wealth.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn prompts Tory outrage as he blames Grenfell Tower fire on austerity

To Conservative cries of "shame on you!", the Labour leader warned that "we all pay a price in public safety" for spending cuts.

A fortnight after the Grenfell Tower fire erupted, the tragedy continues to cast a shadow over British politics. Rather than probing Theresa May on the DUP deal, Jeremy Corbyn asked a series of forensic questions on the incident, in which at least 79 people are confirmed to have died.

In the first PMQs of the new parliament, May revealed that the number of buildings that had failed fire safety tests had risen to 120 (a 100 per cent failure rate) and that the cladding used on Grenfell Tower was "non-compliant" with building regulations (Corbyn had asked whether it was "legal").

After several factual questions, the Labour leader rose to his political argument. To cries of "shame on you!" from Tory MPs, he warned that local authority cuts of 40 per cent meant "we all pay a price in public safety". Corbyn added: “What the tragedy of Grenfell Tower has exposed is the disastrous effects of austerity. The disregard for working-class communities, the terrible consequences of deregulation and cutting corners." Corbyn noted that 11,000 firefighters had been cut and that the public sector pay cap (which Labour has tabled a Queen's Speech amendment against) was hindering recruitment. "This disaster must be a wake-up call," he concluded.

But May, who fared better than many expected, had a ready retort. "The cladding of tower blocks did not start under this government, it did not start under the previous coalition governments, the cladding of tower blocks began under the Blair government," she said. “In 2005 it was a Labour government that introduced the regulatory reform fire safety order which changed the requirements to inspect a building on fire safety from the local fire authority to a 'responsible person'." In this regard, however, Corbyn's lack of frontbench experience is a virtue – no action by the last Labour government can be pinned on him. 

Whether or not the Conservatives accept the link between Grenfell and austerity, their reluctance to defend continued cuts shows an awareness of how politically vulnerable they have become (No10 has announced that the public sector pay cap is under review).

Though Tory MP Philip Davies accused May of having an "aversion" to policies "that might be popular with the public" (he demanded the abolition of the 0.7 per cent foreign aid target), there was little dissent from the backbenches – reflecting the new consensus that the Prime Minister is safe (in the absence of an attractive alternative).

And May, whose jokes sometimes fall painfully flat, was able to accuse Corbyn of saying "one thing to the many and another thing to the few" in reference to his alleged Trident comments to Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis. But the Labour leader, no longer looking fearfully over his shoulder, displayed his increased authority today. Though the Conservatives may jeer him, the lingering fear in Tory minds is that they and the country are on divergent paths. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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