Jeremy Corbyn addresses the Durham Miners' Gala. Photo: Getty Images
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25 campaign groups and activists back Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader

The surprise frontruner for the Labour leadership has been given a boost with the support of 25 campaign groups.

Jeremy Corbyn's bid for the Labour leadership has been backed by 25 grassroots campaigners in an open letter to the New Statesman. The signatories, who range from anti-austerity campaigns to media reform groups, and include Walter Wolfgang, the octagenerian who was ejected from Labour party conference for heckling tony Blair, describe parliamentary politics as "fundamentally flawed and stagnant" but argue that Corbyn "stands miles apart" from his rivals for the Labour leadership.

The letter will strengthen Corbyn's argument that he is best-placed to appeal to voters who have rejected the Labour party or do not vote at all. 

The full text is below:

As grassroots campaigners and activists working for social change from outside Westminster, we recognise the fundamentally flawed and stagnant state of Parliamentary politics in this country.

However, it is foolish to suggest that it doesn't make any difference who is in Government or who is the leader of the main political parties.

Jeremy Corbyn stands miles apart from the other Labour leadership contenders and he has consistently stood up for the issues we campaign on. Whether he's been leading anti-war marches, standing up for the rights of disabled people or calling for radical solutions to the housing crisis, Jeremy has always been on the side of social movements.

We know a lot of people are sceptical about the Labour Party, for many very legitamate reasons. We urge people, despite those concerns, to back a true campaigner leading the opposition.

 

 

Marc O'Neill, UK Uncut

Linda Burnip, Disabled People Against Cuts

Deborah Hemanns, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (National Committee)

Alistair Cartwright, Media Reform Coalition

Diane Skidmore, Fuel Poverty Action

Rob Lugg, Ritzy Living Wage Campaign 

Selma James, Global Women's Strike

Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group

Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters

Zita Holbourne, National Co-chair Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC)

Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, President International Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB)

Paul Mackney, Co-chair Greece Solidarity Campaign (pc)

Joy Hurcombe, Chair of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign 

Sex Workers Open University

Dave Wetzel, Transforming Communities

Moazzam Begg,  CAGE

Walter Wolfgang, Vice chair Labour CND

Daniel Voskoboynik, This Changes Everything UK

Hilary Wainright, Founding Editor Red Pepper Magazine

Francesca Martinez, Writer & Comedian 

Ewa Jaciewicz, Writer & Activist

John McArdle, Co-Founder Black Triangle Campaign 

Joe Taylor, National Community Activists Network

Gabriel Bristow, London Play & Youth Work Campaign 

Dr Jo Ram, Community Reinvest

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

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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