Jeremy Corbyn doesn't want "charity" to get selected. Photo: Flickr/Garry Knight
Show Hide image

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.

Getty
Show Hide image

How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

0800 7318496