Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour face UKIP challenge in Oldham West by-election


Safe Labour seat faces UKIP insurgency following vote for war in Syria

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn faces another threat to his position from the UK Independence Party in by-election in a long-time Labour stronghold constituency, Oldham West and Royton.

The constituency in Greater Manchester was the long-time seat of popular and respected Labour MP Michael Meacher, who represented the constituency from 1970 to 2015.

The by-election result, which should be announced some time in the early hours of Friday 5 December, is expected to see Labour lose ground to the populist right-wing party UKIP. The vote is the latest challenge to a Labour Party beset by divisions between its left-wing and right-wing factions.

Sixty six of Labour’s 231 MPs voted in favour of the Conservative UK Government’s plan to launch airstrikes against Daesh (Islamic State) targets in Syria.

Under pressure from UKIP, Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell recently described UKIP as an “evil force”.

Quoted in the Telegraph he said: “We cannot allow them to get any form of toehold within our political system and that’s why it’s about defeating them but more importantly…a clear contrast in terms of a sincere, local committed socialist candidate.”

The by-election is being seen as an opportunity for UKIP, which fared poorly in the general election, holding just one of its two seats despite winning a record 3.8m votes. Labour remains the favourite to win the constituency.

Labour have accused UKIP of running a dirty campaign, distributing leaflets that claim Corbyn is un-patriotic and wants to return the Falkland Islands to Argentina.

John Bickley, the UKIP candidate is going up against the head of the local Labour council, Jim McMahon.

The seat is also being contested by the Conservative’s James Daly, the Green Party’s Simeon Hart, Liberal Democrat Jane Brophy and Monster Raving Looney candidate Sir Oink A-Lot.

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Picture courtesy of Global Panorama