My clash with Andy Slaughter MP and the words I thought I’d never hear!

Ok so it wasn’t a clash but I did get the chance to speak to Labour MP  and Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter at a Q&A at my univeristy, Brunel. Mr Slaughter spent a good 15 minutes talking about how right wing the Coalition was, how huge the Lib Dem U-turns had been so it was no surprise that I was pumped up with a lot of anger. I took my opportunity to question Andy on the recent failure for Labour to vote against the 50p rate being dropped to 45p on high income individuals. He also made an interesting comment on the Budget which was something I thought I’d never hear from a Labour MP.

My first question was on the 50p tax rate. I asked him why he and all Labour MPs, bar two, chose to abstain on a vote on the 50p rate. No surprise that he quickly thursted the Labour line that the party voted against the Budget as a whole. Well, of course they were going to. Well done Mr Slaughter for doing what is expected of you as an opposition MP. He even said there wasn’t a vote but after I made it clear I wasn’t going to let it slip he blustered that other Labour members were too busy and had other things to do so “most of them had left”. I asked why those present chose not to vote but I got no clear answer other than what the Balls’ spin machine had been producing.

What was really surprising for me was Andy’s assertion he made that I don’t think I had heard from any Labour MP since the budget. Although he said those on middle incomes came out poorly under cutbacks he did in fact also say that those in the “top 10% were hit hardest”. This is not only shocking as it shows a Labour MP speaking of the budget truthfully but its also the first time since the budget that I have seen a Labour MP, a high profile one at this, not keeping to the party line of referring any reference to the high earners to the cut in the 50p tax rate.

I’m not sure what to make of Andy Slaughter MPs revelation but what is clear is that beneath the surface of the spin shield there is a very clear and vivid realisation that Labour know very well that this “right wing” Coalition have done what others thought we wouldn’t by making sure those at the very top paid their way.

Labour are well and truly spinning out of control and all I can say is pass me the popcorn.

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Bradford West by election coverage

02:44

Clarity on the result (in full)

Respect 18,341 (55.9%)
Lab 8,201 (25.0%)
Con 2,746 (8.4%)
LD 1,505 (4.6%)
UKIP 1,085 (3.3%)
Green 481 (1.5%)
Nat Dem 344 (1.0%)
Loony 111 (0.3%)

Labour now blaming the fact that Galloway is a celebrity. If this was how politics went then Katie Price would have been elected in 2001 as well as Esther Rantzen in 2010!

An extraordinary night and its been thoroughly enjoyable trying to cover it! Thanks again 🙂

02:30

Respect – 18,341
Lib Dem – 1,505
Labour – 8,201
Tory – 2,746
Loony – 111
UKIP – 1,085
Green – 481
Dem Nat – 344

02:28 – Result coming in now!

02:16 – Lots of people complaining about the poor BBC coverage. Mike Smithson (@mikesmithsonOGH) just tweeted: “Why is the BBC Bradford West coverage so crap? This is the most sensational by-election result for decades and they are ignoring it”. Truth in those words. The BBC need to ensure proper coverage of by-elections in future.

02:05 – Talks of plotting already underway as to what to do with Ed Miliband in light of this result. Really exposing the importance of this result.

02:03 – Labour, just four hours ago, were “confident but not complacent”. Stunning turnaround for Respect. Talk of Galloway win of 2:1 over Labour.

02:01 – Not much being said now as there is little to report but its just starting to sink in that Galloway is making a shock return to Parliament!

01:49 – It appears I missed the turnout call! The clarify I’ve heard its at 51%. Very impressive turnout for a by election.

01:41 – Returning Officer reportedly saying we should expect a result around 3AM. My prediction of 0140AM seems all the more daft now!

01:38 – Amusing tweet from @JHepplestone “Queues in Bradford as people panic buy cat food in case of a Galloway victory”. #byelectionbanter (Hash tag my lame addition, not his!).

01:34 – Sky News trying to find out whether the result is worse for Labour or the Coalition. Seems quite clear that its easily the former. A hurrendous result in a safe Labour seat.

01:22 – For those wondering the Bradford West result in 2010 was Labour 45%, Tories 31% and Lib Dems 12% with the other parties racking up around 12% of the vote. The seat has been held by Labour since 1970 when they took it from the Tories.

01:18 – Twitter going crazy with by-election fever. Both “George Galloway” and #bradfordwest trending.

01:14 – For all my Lib Dem friends following this blog I apologise that I have heard so little on Jeanette’s result. Reports not good but apparently activists finding comfort in Labour’s crushing defeat. The line may well be that this wasn’t a rejection of the Coalition but Labour’s poor record in Bradford.

01:06 – Galloway attributing his victory to his anti-war message. Condemning not just the Labour candidate but also pitiful result from the Coalition parties.

00:56 – Sky now suggesting a result at around 1:40AM. Interview with Galloway revealing that Respect will field candidates not just in Bradford local elections but in many surrounding areas expecting surprise results.

00:50 – Galloway claims the “path of treason set by Tony Blair” is the reason for his victory.

00:49 – “By the Grace of God we have won the most sensational victory in British political history.” – George Galloway

00:43 – George Galloway still not yet to be seen at the count. Apparently resting his voice and throat after a lot of heavy campaigning and speeches.

00:35 – Sky News predicting Respect vote of 50%, Tory vote collapsing to as little as 13% (down from 31%) and a quote from a Labour MP to sum it all up…”we’re not just going to lose, but we’re going to lose by a mile”.

00:32 – Count verification nearly complete so we should be hearing on the turnout shortly. Actual vote count will commence after that. My 2AM prediction could turn out to be far more accurate than the Sky News one #libdemconcellationprize

00:24 – BBC backing up a lot of what we have heard from Sky News saying Galloway likely to win.

00:17 – Word that a Labour defeat could really take the wind out of their big comeback in the polls and on their strong response to the Budget, #cashforcameron and the potential fuel crisis.

00:14 – With talk of Galloway’s sensational return to Parliament the Big Brother banter has already begun. “Would you like me to be the cat?”

00:03 – Jon Craig on Sky News claiming we see result in an hour or so. 1AM sounds rather ambitious. I’d say wait for closer to 2AM. Swing to Respect from Labour could be up to 37%. Mosque elders were advising to vote Labour, young voters and women voters seemingly have done quite the contrary!

00:01 – Rumours are that Galloway took 3/4 of the Postal Vote. Seems suspiciously high but it comes with the gossip on a by election night like this!

23:56 – Awaiting the official turnout shortly. Rumours of as low as 30%. Would be a surprise considering the hype but similar scenes were seen in Feltham & Heston. May be the case that the votes in Bradford West became sick of the coverage and political hype.

23:53 – Tory MP reporting to have said that Galloway is to have won 50% of the vote! Earlier today Ladbrokes had 40/1 on Galloway winning over 40%. Even if he made 40% it would be truly shake the political landscape in 2012.

23:47 – A Tory friend of mine just informed me that we may be doing worse than I first predicted! I doubt we shall fall to 7th like he says but regardless these are very worrying times. Labour MP quoted as saying there will be “a Respect MP”. Truly astonishing what is unfolding before us.

23:43 – Rumours that Lib Dems may well have been beaten easily by UKIP. Not just this, but also we are to worry about the Green vote as well. Very worrying news for the party.

23:38 – Sky News reporting that Labour MPs are slowly conceding defeat. Galloway has reportedly won postal votes as well as three “muslim wards”. Sky calling it “sensational”. Labour “jitters” now turning into “dismay”.

23:34 – Twitter seems to be going Galloway crazy. A couple of hours ago the feed was filled with Labour confidence. The picture could not be any different now!

23:33 – Early rumours are that Galloway is edging Labour on the postal votes. If this is true then Labour will be very worried as this is where Galloway actually believed he would have lost a lot of ground to Labour. Also I’m hearing that UKIP may well be running the Tories close for 3rd. Not too sure on the Lib Dem vote at the moment but it isn’t looking good.

23:31 – Apologies for the late kick off, I’m not quite as on the ball as I was for Feltham & Heston but I shall try my best!

#CashForCameron and where this leaves the Liberal Democrats

The Sunday Times tomorrow will be formally ‘breaking’ their story tomorrow about the allegations (well, concrete proof) regarding Peter Cruddas, Conservative Party co-treasurer. The Sunday Times undercover reporters question Mr Cruddas about what a donation to the party would mean for them and their business. Cruddas spoke how “Two hundred grand to 250 is Premier League” He also went on to say that “… what you would get is, when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron/Osborne dinners”. Such a story will spell disaster not just for the Tories but also for the Labour party who will no doubt be made to re-address their former scandals regarding the influence of wealthy donors on political parties.

Some had seen reform to political party funding as an issue well and truly swept under the carpet, but these events will surely rekindle the flame for reform. This is where we need to make sure our party steps in. I truly believe that our policy of state funded parties is the clear and moral alternative to the sorry state of affairs we have now. Cameron vowed to help end political lobbying, declaring it a “scandal” and there is no way in hell he will want to be tied to this latest scandal and certainly not to the status quo. If he has a decent bone in him he will lead his party to back any reform we put forward. I believe it is only right that the Lib Dems lead on this because its either us, CashForCameron’s Tory party or Labour who still remain well and truly buttoned up in the Union’s pockets.

If we can’t win in an environment like this, with a setting so perfect then we never will. The party needs to act now and I call upon Nick Clegg to do it not just for the party, or for the coalition, but for the sake of politics in Britain.

 

By the way, sorry I haven’t posted in so long I’ve been very busy and I shall explain all soon 😉