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.

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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.

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