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Do CLP nominations show that Jeremy Corbyn is winning the Labour leadership contest?

Corbyn triumphed in 84 per cent of constituency party votes. But Owen Smith's supporters say they give a misleading picture. 

Constituency nominations for the Labour leadership closed today and it's a landslide for Jeremy Corbyn. The incumbent won 285 (84 per cent) compared to Owen Smith's 53, a larger margin of victory than last year when he won 39 per cent (152/387). Based on these numbers, most believe Corbyn will come close to matching his 2015 performance (when he won 60 per cent of the vote). My instinct, as I've written before, is that the Labour leader is on course for re-election. 

But Smith's supporters insist they have cause for hope. They point out that more votes were cast in the GMB members' ballot (which the challenger won) than in constituency parties. Nearly half didn't nominate at all. Turnout among those that did ranged from around 7 per cent to 15 per cent with most members staying home.

"Many quiet, moderate members don't attend meetings at the best of times and are even more put off in the current climate," a Labour MP told the New Statesman. "There's a real disconnect between Corbynite noise in meetings and on social media and where members are." Some of those who did vote in nomination meetings are among the 130,000 new members who Labour's National Executive Committee successfully excluded from the contest. 

As I reported last week, Smith's team say that their private polling shows Corbyn below 50 per cent with a significant number of undecided voters. Such reports should always be treated with dollops of salt. Andy Burnham's team claimed private polling showed him four points behind Corbyn last August (compared to YouGov's 32). Corbyn finished 41 points ahead. But Smith's supporters have also been buoyed by new data from Saving Labour. The anti-Corbyn group says it has recruited 70,000 registered supporters (out of an estimated 140,000) and 50,000 trade unionists (out of an estimated 70,000). Their assumption is that almost all will vote for Smith, putting him level with Corbyn among the former group and ahead among the latter. 

But it is only with a new poll of members by YouGov (an accurate guide in 2010 and 2015), expected later this week, that a clear picture will be given.  

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Brexit could destroy our NHS – and it would be the government's own fault

Without EU citizens, the health service will be short of 20,000 nurses in a decade.

Aneurin Bevan once said: "Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community."

And so, in 1948, the National Health Service was established. But today, the service itself seems to be on life support and stumbling towards a final and fatal collapse.

It is no secret that for years the NHS has been neglected and underfunded by the government. But Brexit is doing the NHS no favours either.

In addition to the promise of £350m to our NHS every week, Brexit campaigners shamefully portrayed immigrants, in many ways, as as a burden. This is quite simply not the case, as statistics have shown how Britain has benefited quite significantly from mass EU migration. The NHS, again, profited from large swathes of European recruitment.

We are already suffering an overwhelming downturn in staffing applications from EU/EAA countries due to the uncertainty that Brexit is already causing. If the migration of nurses from EEA countries stopped completely, the Department of Health predicts the UK would have a shortage of 20,000 nurses by 2025/26. Some hospitals have significantly larger numbers of EU workers than others, such as Royal Brompton in London, where one in five workers is from the EU/EAA. How will this be accounted for? 

Britain’s solid pharmaceutical industry – which plays an integral part in the NHS and our everyday lives – is also at risk from Brexit.

London is the current home of the highly prized EU regulatory body, the European Medicine Agency, which was won by John Major in 1994 after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty.

The EMA is tasked with ensuring that all medicines available on the EU market are safe, effective and of high quality. The UK’s relationship with the EMA is unquestionably vital to the functioning of the NHS.

As well as delivering 900 highly skilled jobs of its own, the EMA is associated with 1,299 QPPV’s (qualified person for pharmacovigilance). Various subcontractors, research organisations and drug companies have settled in London to be close to the regulatory process.

The government may not be able to prevent the removal of the EMA, but it is entirely in its power to retain EU medical staff. 

Yet Theresa May has failed to reassure EU citizens, with her offer to them falling short of continuation of rights. Is it any wonder that 47 per cent of highly skilled workers from the EU are considering leaving the UK in the next five years?

During the election, May failed to declare how she plans to increase the number of future homegrown nurses or how she will protect our current brilliant crop of European nurses – amounting to around 30,000 roles.

A compromise in the form of an EFTA arrangement would lessen the damage Brexit is going to cause to every single facet of our NHS. Yet the government's rhetoric going into the election was "no deal is better than a bad deal". 

Whatever is negotiated with the EU over the coming years, the NHS faces an uncertain and perilous future. The government needs to act now, before the larger inevitable disruptions of Brexit kick in, if it is to restore stability and efficiency to the health service.

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