SHE is going to be face the question the New Journal asked her last week lots of times in the coming weeks, so Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq might have to get used to answering how she feels about nominating Jeremy Corbyn, helping him onto the ballot paper and then watching him destroy her first preference Andy Burnham in the leadership contest. To recap, she said last week that she has no regrets about that fateful decision, because she thought the debate needed broadening.
She’s fronted it out confidently enough so far, but every time Corbyn messes up – which if some of the Sunday newspapers out today are to be believed, will be quite often – Tulip will be asked whether she still doesn’t regret lending him her vote. Every time she departs from his view in a Commons vote, the Conservatives will ask her the same question. In fact, the Tories this week will set out to make sure everybody remembers who Tulip nominated, seeking to strap her to a leader who they believe will lead Labour to disaster. It’s a toxification strategy.
Some will say it is even more sensitive in a constituency like Hampstead and Kilburn, where the high proportion of Jewish voters is often recognised as a key factor in elections. It isn’t a bloc vote, but don’t be surprised if the Conservatives run regular reminders that Corbyn, the man who introduced Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘friends’, even if that’s not really what he meant, became leader with the campaign-saving help of Tulip.
There was the briefest sign of this pressure point yesterday, when Tom Smith from the local Tories goaded her on Twitter with: ‘You did this to your party – you nominated Corbyn – I’m sure your colleagues are v grateful’. Tulip in turn couldn’t let that go, and responded with a catty recall of Tom’s paper candidate defeat in Gateshead at the general election. “Who are you anyway?”, she said, as things turned a bit Jeremy Kyle. “Oh a failed parliamentary candidate.” A tiny to-and-fro in the grand scheme of things, but a hint at what may lie ahead.
NO ROOM FOR SULKS
A QUICK update on a couple of other north London reactions to the Corbyn win. Keir Starmer repeats his call for unity behind the new leader, with the caution that “Jeremy does not have all the answers” and that he should follow through with opening it up the ‘radical project’ to the whole party. He does not rule out working with Corbyn’s shadow team, and nor does Emily Thornberry, who told the Islington Tribune last night that there was “no room for sulking” for those upset at the result. She voted for Yvette Cooper, but struck a conciliatory tone when talking about her neighbouring Islington MP. Thornberry is opposed to Trident renewal.
SARAH Hayward provides some extra context to the debate that it’s near impossible to get selected for a top role in the Labour Party if you’re a woman. Some might say Kezia Dugdale has, but you get the point:
ELSEWHERE, former Lib Dem councillor Paul Braithwite continues to chase his old adversary, bluntly reminding us of Sarah’s support for the low-polling Liz Kendall:
CORBYN’S victory speech… it was a bit like this: