A group of 27 Labour parliamentary candidates who failed to win seats on 7 May announce their backing for leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn, saying he is the only candidate who is true to the party’s founding principles.
The group have written to the Corbyn camp pledging support, saying Labour should be fighting “ideological spending cuts” and Tory plans to “dismantle the welfare state”. They say Labour did not lose the election because it was too leftwing, but because it “failed to challenge the fundamental economic consensus on austerity. This cost all of us votes.”
Their move follows an extraordinary week for Corbyn, who entered the race as the outsider but is now a serious challenger, after opinion polls suggested he could beat Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.
Corbyn is riding high on a wave of discontent with more mainstream voices in the party. However, he refused to rule out campaigning to leave the EU, opening himself up to criticism from Labour pro-Europeans.
At a hustings in Warrington, Corbyn was asked if he would “rule out voting No or campaigning for No”. Corbyn said: “No, I wouldn’t rule it out … Because Cameron quite clearly follows an agenda which is about trading away workers’ rights, is about trading away environmental protection, is about trading away much of what is in the social chapter.”
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