Nottingham Labour members divided as Corbyn and Smith battle comes to city

Picture: Wykehamistwikipedian (cc-by-sa-4.0) and Garry Knight (cc-by-sa-2.0)

Labour’s leadership battle came to Nottingham today as the two candidates attempted to win support in one of the party’s traditional heartlands.

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith took part in a television debate at Nottingham Trent University this morning as part of a national tour of events.

It comes after dozens of MPs, including three from Nottinghamshire, walked out of Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet during the fallout from the referendum decision for the UK to leave the European Union.

Mr Corbyn then faced a leadership challenge fronted by Mr Smith, the MP for Pontypridd in Wales.

Backers of both men have been fighting particularly hard for support in Nottinghamshire, where party members are divided.

Video: Jeremy Corbyn has a simple message about why he should lead Labour

After the BBC debate some undecided Labour members said they had decided to back Mr Corbyn, while others said they had been swayed by Smith.

Jeremy Corbyn told Notts TV: “We’re going to chase down inequality and injustice in our society.

“We’re also going to invest in good quality public services for all.”

Video: Owen Smith on the debate, uniting the party and Nottinghamshire

Owen Smith said he could unite the party if he is elected leader.

He said: “At the moment, we are divided and divided parties lose elections.

“Every single one of the Nottingham MPs are supporting me and around 170 Labour MPs are supporting me; I think that should tell Labour supporters and members that I can do what Jeremy can’t.

“For Nottingham in particular, I want to borrow in order to invest in this community; I want to build schools and the skills, the healthcare and the housing that we need.”

Video: What Nottingham supporters think of the candidates

Nottingham supporters are undecided on who would be the better Labour leader.

One said: “I do believe that Jeremy Corbyn is a very realistic guy.

“I do believe he could be the party leader for Labour and maybe even the Prime Minister.”

Another said: “To be the next Labour Prime Minister, you have to get people who would not normally vote for you to vote for you.

“Owen Smith is trying very hard to appeal to the wider electorate.”

The result of the leadership election will be announced at a conference on Saturday, September 24.


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