Newington I

Charles Walwyn Radclyffe Cooke was Tory MP for Newington from 1885-92. In 1890 he wrote a book on his political experiences, Four Years in Parliament with Hard Labour, recounting his difficulties with the first Commons telephone: “very annoying, the more so as my knowledge of the instrument is theoretical rather than practical”.

He was not impressed by the demands of the public on MPs and felt it was an evil solved by leaving members “severely alone”. Nor was he impressed by the new democracy in the Tory party represented by the “tyrannical” Primrose League. He recalled that at their meetings you were forced to drink “half a dozen full cupfuls” of “inferior Souchong at two shillings and frequently the coarsest Congou” or “your conservatism is considered blemished”

This article first appeared in the 22 July 2013 issue of the New Statesman, How to make a saint

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Jeremy Corbyn to tell Labour: "Prepare for a 2017 general election"

The newly re-elected Labour leader will urge the party to unite.

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to warn Labour to prepare for a general election in 2017 at conference on Wednesday.

The newly re-elected Labour leader will say: "Whatever the Prime Minister says about snap elections, there is every chance that Theresa May will cut and run for an early election. 

“So I put our party on notice today. Labour is preparing for a general election in 2017, we expect all our members to support that effort, and we will be ready whenever it comes."

Urging the party to rebuild trust, he is to declare: "Every one of us knows that we will only get there if we accept the decision of the members, end trench warfare and work together to take on the Tories."

He will also set out ten Labour policy pledges, which include full employment, public ownership of services and a national education service.

On immigration, he is expected to say: "A Labour government will not offer false promises. We will not sow division or fan the flames of fear. 

"We will instead tackle the real issues of immigration – and make the real changes that are needed."

This includes reinstating the migrant impact fund, and tackling the exploitation of migrant workers.