Support for Jeremy Corbyn at Hartlepool rally but concern over MP Iain Wright's backing of challenger Owen Smith

Labour party members in Hartlepool gave a show of support for leader Jeremy Corbyn at a rally.

Friday, 5th August 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:41 pm
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks following a meeting to confirm the Communication Workers Union's support for Corbyn during the Labour leadership contest, at Hamilton House in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 1, 2016. The CWU has around 200,000 members in the Royal Mail, Post Office, BT and other firms. See PA story POLITICS Labour. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Around 70 people attended Wednesday night’s Jeremy for Labour event in the Belle Vue Way Social Club.

Local members of the pro Corbyn Momentum movement said there was great concern at the meeting over Hartlepool MP Iain Wright’s nomination for leadership challenger Owen Smith.

It puts Mr Wright at odds with the grass roots Constituency Labour Party which has given its backing to Jeremy Corbyn.

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The meeting was organised by local Labour Party members with support from Momentum Teesside​ and chaired by Fens and Rossmere ward councillor Alan Clark.

Steve Cooke, organiser for Momentum Teesside, said: “The discussion that followed involved contributions from many of those present.

“There was great concern that Hartlepool’s MP Iain Wright had been involved in the Parliamentary Labour Party’s attempt to force Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader and a feeling that this demonstrated the disconnection between the PLP and the grassroots party membership.

“Much of the debate focused on how members could win back control of the party from those who appear to want to move it away from socialist policies.”

The rally was also addressed by Barbara Campbell, a Momentum Teesside organiser and NHS campaigner, and Terry McPartlan, a Labour Party member for 36 years and chair of Gateshead Trades Council​.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, who spoke at the event, said: “I am delighted with the turnout for Wednesday’s rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn.

“Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic that Jeremy will be successful and implement policies that resonate with grassroots party members.”

The next stage for pro-Corbyn campaigners locally is the all-member nomination meeting, called by Hartlepool Constituency Labour Party to discuss the merits of the two leadership candidates and consider whether the CLP should formally nominate one.

The nomination meeting will be held on Friday, August 12, at 6pm in Belle Vue Sports Centre, Kendal Road.

It is open to all Labour members who joined the party on or before 12 January 2016.

Ballot papers will be sent out to Labour Party members later this month.

The leadership contest result will be announced on September 24.