As the speculation on whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should resign from his position, it is important to begin a look into the ranks of the party at possible replacements. Recent polls suggest that Labour would stand a better chance in a general election without Corbyn as leader. One MP who has shone in recent times and who I feel will one day make a very strong Labour leader is Lara Pidcock.
The Member of Parliament for North West Durham, Pidcock is at the forefront of promoting and putting at the forefront both socialism and feminism within the Labour Party. She won her seat during the 2017 snap election, since then she has been a force to be reckoned with inside the party.
She has made it clear that she is not interested in getting along with any Conservatives, saying that they cannot be trusted. This kind of attitude is far more clinical than that of Corbyn and it is more relatable to those of a more left-wing persuasion. Of course, Corbyn is a self-confirmed Socialist, but the way Pidcock presents her politics is far more appealing to the younger voters. She is younger than Corbyn and her fresh ideas gives her this advantage.
It was an interview with the blog ‘Sqwawkbox less than two years ago that Pidcock stated her true feelings towards her Parties right-wing counterparts, “I feel disgusted at the way they’re running this country, it’s visceral – I’m not interested in being cosy.”
“The idea that they’re not the enemy is simply delusional when you see the effect they have on people – a nation where lots of people live in a constant state of fear whether they even have enough to eat.” This was of course in reference to the austerity which has been in place in England during most of the Conservatives leadership since 2010.
Pidcock attended the 2019 Durham Miners Gala as a representative of both the Labour Party and as a local of County Durham. She gave a speech at the event, which is an annual meeting to reflect on the UK’s mining history and the role of unions in the present day. She criticised a reporter for asking about antisemitism in the days leading up to the Gala, saying that it was unnecessary when she had an important event coming up to talk about. It is true, Antisemitism should not define the party. There are good people within the Labour Party but they are being let down by those involved in these issues.
Not much has changed in the two years since Pidcock made these comments, apart from those in power have a new leader. The Conservatives are weaker since Pidcock won her seat, but Labour are not in a much stronger position. The movement which Jeremy Corbyn set out on when he became leader of the Labour Party in 2015 has ultimately failed to make the desired impact. There have been strong movements within the party and a swell of support for a new kind of Labour.
The purpose of the Labour Party should not change. Its roots go back to a time in which the working classes of Britain were desperate for a political group to represent them. the party helped to secure workers’ rights and prevent exploitation from employers by establishing the basis for trade unions, most of which held strong for decades after. In 2019, Labour has is not without its issues. The inability to shake the negativity surrounding antisemitism within the party has hit Labour hard. This, along with the Liberal Democrats surge in support as the leading remain party, has lost the party considerable support in the last few years.
Last weeks result in the Brecon & Radnorshire byelection was bad for the Conservatives but in a way, it looked as bad for Labour. Just 10% of votes in a seat which has evaded the grasp of Labour for some time now and finishing far behind the Conservatives, Lib Dems and the Brexit Party. Results like this should be deeply concerning for the Labour hierarchy, especially with the prospect of a snap election potentially on the horizon.
It is this issue which highlights the need for Labour to make a change. Pidcock will not be at the top of many peoples lists as potential new leader, but her attitudes towards the traditional history of the party and the new challenges ahead is something which the next Labour needs, regardless of who that may be.