Article 50 has been triggered. Now let’s get on with job and hold the Tories to account 

I, like millions of other people who voted to leave the EU, am relieved that Article 50 has finally been triggered. These last nine months have been one hell of a journey, with pro-Brexit politicians trying their utmost to disrupt Brexit, interference from millionaires like Maria Miller and pro-EU campaigners holding demonstrations across the country in an attempt to override democracy. 

Thurrock voted Brexit by 73% and I was not surprised after the amount of anti-EU feeling I experienced when I campaigned for Labour in 2014 and 2015. People across Thurrock are not anti-Europe, they are anti-EU. They were angry at the EU interfering with our laws, our sovereignty and our way of life. And they were also angry that Britain had no control over its borders and could not control the number of EU migrants entering the country.

When New Labour relaxed Britain’s borders with Poland in 2004, we were the only country in the EU to do so; other EU countries did not relax their borders until 2007. New Labour grossly underestimated how many Polish migrants would come to Britain. Employers across the country took advantage of cheap EU labour and sacked British workers and exploited EU migrants. Areas like Lincolnshire that is agricultural hired EU migrants to work on farms and fields, and the influx of cheap EU labour in 2004 led to the fall in wage growth. 

Pro-EU campaigners argue that Britain’s farming industry and the NHS will suffer because of Brexit. Britain managed perfectly well prior to 2004 and there is no reason why we cannot manage post-Brexit. For starters we should start training young people and give them the skills they need to work in construction, farming and in medicine rather than remain reliant on overseas labour. There are around 600,000 unemployed young people aged under 25 in Britain and many would jump at the opportunity of being given a decent job rather than having to rely on zero hours contracts and seasonal work. Young people are leaving school with no aspiration because the Tories have thrown them on the scrapheap. These people are the future of Britain and they should he given a fair start in life.

Now is the time for Labour and other opposition parties to come together and hold the Tories to account over Brexit. Turbulent times lie ahead and it is the job of opposition parties to ensure the Tories deliver a Brexit that benefits everyone and not just a few. Jeremy Corbyn was right to respect the Brexit vote, as Labour’s northern heartlands voted Brexit by 75%. Unlike New Labour and Ed Miliband’s time as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn is listening to Labour’s heartlands and he is the first Labour leader in decades to truly represent them. Under New Labour the party lost 4 million working class voters. 

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has led to UKIP’s demise in the North of England; both Oldham West and Stoke-on-Trent showed UKIP that they will never beat Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. Copeland, however, was a disappointing result for Labour, but since 2005 Labour’s vote share has dropped significantly. Jamie Reed, a New Labour relic, badly represented Copeland and despite his constituency voting to leave the EU, he voted to remain. When Jamie Reed resigned, Labour chose a pro-EU candidate for Copeland because the by-election was hijacked by New Labour relics. Their chosen candidate was Gillian Troughton, another New Labour relic who was very outspoken against Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit and clearly the people of Copeland did not want ‘more of the same’. So they voted Conservative because Theresa May is committed to delivering Brexit and getting on with the job. 

As part of Brexit we will leave the Single Market which means Britain will finally have control of its borders and freedom of movement – something which the majority of people voted Brexit for. That said, we should not turn our backs on the EU and we should continue to welcome any EU national who chooses to come to Britain to live and work.

Far-right activists are using Brexit to spread racism, xenophobia and division in our communities and this is completely unacceptable. The Government must act. Brexit does not mean that Britain has closed its doors to the world and nor does it mean that foreign nationals are no longer welcome here. Britain has always been a welcoming and tolerant country because this is a British value – and we must ensure that this value is never taken away from us. 

My only regret is that the late, great Labour MP Tony Benn is not here to witness this momentous occasion when Britain finally gets to take back control. He would have been a very proud man. 

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David Cameron has effectively sabotaged the UK – but Jeremy Corbyn can keep the UK together

Nicola Sturgeon is absolutely right to call a second independence referendum because Brexit has changed everything. Despite Leave winning the EU referendum, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain.

Personally, I believe the Scottish referendum should have happened after the EU referendum as the good people of Scotland have been conned. They never rejected independence to be ruled by a Tory dictatorship, the most ruthless Tory government since Margaret Thatcher. The Tories have never looked after Scotland and many have never forgiven them for piloting the Poll Tax there in 1989.

There is nothing to suggest that Scotland will vote for independence; polls are meaningless, as we discovered at the general election in 2015 and EU referendum last year. Scotland could reject independence again, but that all depends on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, the Tories’ official opposition at Westminster.

The SNP surge in 2015 to the expense of Labour and the Lib Dems should have taught both parties a valuable lesson but the message still hasn’t gotten through. Scottish Labour was effectively destroyed by New Labour and the final insult was when the party shared platforms with the Tories in 2014 during the Better Together Campaign – and we can thank Blairite John McTernan for that. Incidentally, he also destroyed the Australian Labor Party last year leading to the party’s defeat at last year’s general election and another 4 years of Liberal and National Coalition (LNP) rule. Australia’s LNP is equally as toxic as our Tory Party. 

Scottish Labour is still very much attached to New Labour and the only way the party can bounce back is by having a complete relaunch. Kezia Dugdale, another Blairite, has failed to revive the party and she causes more and more damage whenever she opens her mouth. Kezia Dugdale has got to go and needs to be replaced by a strong left-wing leader who will steer the party in the right direction and win back voters lost to the SNP. Unless Scottish Labour detaches itself from New Labour then the party’s future will be untenable. Bring back George Galloway, he would make a fantastic leader and would turn Scottish Labour’s fortunes around. 

The Lib Dems lost support in Scotland because of their coalition with the Tories, and the fact Tim Farron would form another coalition with them says it all. The Lib Dems are a party of opportunists and will stoop to any level for a taste of power. 

Jeremy Corbyn can keep the UK together but he cannot do it alone: Labour must unite behind him and fight the Tories for the sake of the UK and the millions of people across Britain who are suffering at the hands of the Tories. Labour must campaign positively against independence in Scotland – and not with the Tories or Lib Dems – and explain to the people how much is at stake and what they stand to lose. Labour must fight to keep the UK together and I believe a united Labour can do this. 

Many SNP supporters have told me that they never left Labour, but Labour left them. That was all thanks to New Labour and John McTernan, but Jeremy Corbyn is liked in Scotland, much more than Kezia Dugdale. A strong and united Labour will show the good people of Scotland that we are better together. And together, united, Labour can beat the Tories and win the next election. 

New Labour lost 4 million working class voters, many were in Labour’s heartlands that were left behind and neglected. Immigration also played a big part, but the fact New Labour never repealed any of Margaret Thatcher’s policies is why millions working class people felt disenfranchised. Parties like the BNP and UKIP preyed on people’s fears, just like Donald Trump is doing in America – and Labour must never let this happen again. It won’t under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership because nobody will be left behind – and working class areas neglected by New Labour will have investment and growth. Scotland included. 

But there is one person who we should all be angry at and that’s David Cameron. He has effectively destroyed the UK, he had no Brexit strategy because he was not expecting Leave to win the EU referendum, and that’s why he did a runner last June. The man is a coward and  a snake. Theresa May also appears to have no Brexit strategy and the Tories are deeply divided over Brexit and their recent Budget – but don’t expect Britain’s biased media to accurately report on the infighting within the Tory Party, it’s more concerned about Labour and attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

I believe we are better together and I would hate for Scotland to break away, but it’s not my decision. Whichever way Scotland votes, I wish them well. Nicola Sturgeon is a fantastic leader and has done a brilliant job at holding the Tories to account. She, along with the SNP, have put Scottish Labour and Kezia Dugdale to shame. I have a lot of respect for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. Oh, and if you’re reading this Mhairi Black, please reconsider quitting politics! You are an absolute legend and I put you in the same league as Jeremy Corbyn, Dennis Skinner, Glenda and the late Tony Benn. Politics needs more people like you. 

Only Jeremy Corbyn and Labour can keep the UK together – and now more than ever the UK needs them. If Scotland breaks away then England could be locked in with permanent Tory rule and life for millions of people won’t be worth living – and that includes me. 

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While Jeremy Corbyn attacked the Tories over zero hours jobs, public sector cuts, homelessness and austerity, they sat there laughing

The Tories showed complete and utter contempt for the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable during the Budget. Jeremy Corbyn gave a very powerful speech after Philip Hammond delivered his Budget, raising concerns that are affecting millions of people across Britain.

Jeremy talked about the effects Tory austerity is having on the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable. He talked about the effects welfare cuts will have on the disabled and working families. He talked about the crisis that is crippling the NHS. He talked about the Tories’ new ‘rape clause’ which has been imposed on Child Benefit. He talked about the effects Tory cuts are having on public services. He talked about underpaid and overworked public sector workers. He talked about inequality. He talked about zero hours contracts and low pay. He talked about the social care crisis. He talked about tax cuts for large corporations and the rich, while the self-employed get a National Insurance hike. He talked about wage poverty and soaring utility bills and inflation. He talked about the housing shortage and homelessness. He talked about the lack of support for mental health sufferers. He talked about cuts to Bereavement Benefit and how widowed parents will struggle. He talked about the effect Housing Benefit cuts will have on young people aged 18 to 21. He talked about women’s rights and the effects Tory austerity is having on women and mothers. And he talked about the pressures that are affecting ordinary people across the country. 

While he was doing this, the Tories sat there laughing, jeering and heckling. Theresa May says the Tories are a party in the national interest and no one will be left behind in her caring ‘Shared Society’ which is nothing more than a gimmick. For a party of the workers, the Tories have screwed self-employed people – despite their 2015 manifesto pledge that National Insurance would not go up. Council Tax and rents will also be hiked, while earnings are now 0.6% below inflation. 

Another key 2015 manifesto pledge the Tories have broken is the Living Wage being £9.20 per hour by 2020, this is now unlikely to happen, and has been widely condemned by the press. In fact, even the right-wing press has attacked the Tories over their Budget and behaviour in Parliament during Jeremy Corbyn’s speech. 

Theresa May’s honeymoon is now over and the fallout of the Budget will give the Tories the reality check they need. Labour now has the opportunity to hold the Tories to account and start gaining ground including in the polls. Jeremy Corbyn’s Budget speech showed that only Labour is on the side of the ordinary people and is fighting the Tories on everyday issues affecting everyday people. 

The coming weeks will be interesting, and May’s local elections could prove to be a disaster for the Tories, as angry people get their own back at the ballot box. 

Time and time again the Tories have laughed and jeered at the poor, disabled and vulnerable during parliamentary debates on austerity and the NHS, but today they reached a new low. 

In 1988, Margaret Thatcher said there is no such thing as society, and today the Tories lived up to it. Unless you’re rich and own an offshore bank account, you have no chance of getting on in Tory Britain. 

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As a disabled man, the Tories make me feel worthless. Sometimes I wish I was dead 

Another day, another Tory attack on the disabled. Last week Tory MP George Freeman claimed that only the “real disabled” should be entitled to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and not those who “take pills for anxiety”. Now Tory Councillor Fiona Robson has attacked disabled people for attending Saturday’s NHS demo in London:

Fiona Robson has since deleted her Twitter account after receiving a huge backlash from angry people including the disabled and and carers. 

George Freeman doesn’t like people (like me) who take pills for anxiety and depression. Fiona Robson doesn’t believe disabled people should exercise their right to protest against the Government and get their voices heard.

I have suffered with anxiety and depression since 2010 following the death of my mother, who died of cancer. I had a breakdown in 2011 and almost committed suicide. I was prescribed Venlafaxine which has kept me mentally stable to a degree, but has affected my physical health in other ways. 

My weight has ballooned. I used to be a trim 12 stone but now I weigh over 18. This is because Venlafaxine has caused my weight to balloon. I could change my medication but I have not been able to get on with other antidepressants. 

Venlafaxine has brought on heart problems because of my weight and I am currently undergoing treatment. I have heart disease and I am at risk of having a heart attack or a stroke which could be fatal. I also take heart pills which are basically keeping me alive. But my health problems don’t stop there.

In January 2014, I collapsed at work. After being admitted to hospital doctors identified that I had a blood clot on the brain. I nearly died but thanks to hardworking and dedicated NHS staff at Basildon Hospital I am still here. I now have to take warfarin to prevent my blood from clotting and have regular INR check ups, and I will have to do this for the rest of my life.

Despite my disabilities I still work, but part-time on medical grounds. I don’t claim any benefits even though I have been advised to claim PIP and apply for a blue badge. 

I chose not to claim PIP or apply for a blue badge because I don’t want to be a burden on the state. The Tories’ benefit assessments are humiliating and degrading and there is no way I am putting myself through that. Furthermore, Tories like Fiona Robson seem to think that all disabilities are physical; she clearly has no idea what mental health is or the effects it has on a person’s life. I have read real-life horror stories about benefit assessments because they are conducted by people like Fiona Robson and George Freeman.  

Mentally, I have good and bad days. Some days I wake up with a bounce, other days I wake up and could easily sleep the day away because I don’t want to face the world. And some nights I go to bed and hope I never wake up again: I feel that I would be in a better place. 

The cruelness of the Tories towards the disabled makes me feel worthless – and there are millions more like me. Maybe if I stop taking my heart pills my heart will stop beating. Maybe if I stop taking my warfarin then my blot will clot. Maybe if I stop taking my antidepressants then I will lose control and throw myself in front a train. 

The Tories are causing the disabled to commit suicide. There is lack of support for the disabled and benefit cuts and sanctions have caused a spike in mental health problems. When a disabled person has nowhere to turn it’s no wonder they commit suicide. I live near a railway line and it’s regularly being closed because someone has thrown themselves in front of a train, something that was rarely heard of prior to 2010.

The Tories claim to be a party in the national interest, and that no one will be left behind in Theresa May’s ‘Shared Society’. What they forget to mention is that if you’re disabled then you’re excluded, because we’ve become a society where the disabled are robbed of their dignity, support and the right to a decent quality of life. 

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Labour’s defeat in Copeland should teach Blairites a lesson: Disunity leads to defeat 

Labour’s defeat in Copeland was devastating but not surprising. Electoral data shows Labour’s vote share in the constituency has dropped since 2010 – proving that the rot set in under New Labour. 

History tells us that New Labour lost 4 million working class voters and also started the erosion of Scottish Labour. In 2015, UKIP accrued nearly 4 million voters and came second in every Labour-held seat in the North of England, while the SNP virtually wiped out Scottish Labour in Scotland. The UKIP and SNP surges were partly caused by New Labour, as voters felt that the party no longer represented them. 

However, since the general election in 2015, the Tories have enjoyed a surge in support particularly since Brexit, while UKIP support has dropped. Data shows that the Tories have taken at least 29% of UKIP support. 

People are now questioning the relevance of UKIP, as the Tories are delivering Brexit and are tackling immigration. Official Government figures show that net migration has fallen by 49,000 and both these things are appealing to UKIP supporters. The Tories have effectively replaced UKIP and Paul Nuttall’s recent defeat to Labour in Stoke-on-Trent, the Brexit capital of Britain, has sent a clear message to him: Labour will never be beaten by UKIP and your party is now irrelevant. 

But we should focus on Labour’s woes. Since the unnecessary Blairite-led leadership coup last summer, Labour has continued to flag behind in the polls. Blairites and the gutter press personally blame Jeremy Corbyn, but the real reason why Labour lost Copeland is because of party disunity. People are sick of the Blairites’ infighting and personal attacks against Jeremy Corbyn. Political disunity does not win elections.

Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s membership has surged to over 500,000 and the party is now the biggest socialist movement in Europe. Jeremy Corbyn, his supporters and his campaign movement Momentum are passionate, loyal and hardworking. They are committed to success and have demonstrated that they are a very powerful movement. They are good at promoting and communicating Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity and anti-Establishment message, they are good at promoting Labour Party policies and they are good at fighting off Jeremy Corbyn’s detractors. But the same cannot be said for Progress-supporting Blairites.

Progress-supporting Copeland CLP selected Gillian Troughton, a Blairite and outspoken Jeremy Corbyn critic, to stand in the recent by-election. Despite Copeland voting Brexit, Gillian Troughton – like Jamie Reed – backed Remain. Jamie Reed did not respect Copeland’s Brexit message and neither did Gillian Troughton. So it comes as no surprise that Copeland elected a Conservative MP after decades of Labour neglecting and misrepresenting the constituency. 

Blairites have persistently undermined Jeremy Corbyn and they were behind last year’s leadership coup. Blairites have damaged Labour, and they, along with Progress, are partly responsible for Labour losing Copeland. Blairites only have one objective and that is to destroy Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership so they can install another toxic Blairite and lead Labour into oblivion. 

Labour’s defeat in Copeland has sent a clear message and a warning to Progress and Blairites: Your selfish and irresponsible actions are damaging the party. Now is the time to put your differences aside and unite behind Jeremy Corbyn. A strong and united Labour Party can win elections and can make a difference. Britain has never needed a Labour government as much as it does now. 

Spare a thought for the families who are using food banks because of in-work poverty. Spare a thought for NHS patients laying on trolleys in corridors because there are no beds available. Spare a thought for children who are going to school hungry. Spare a thought for public sector workers who are struggling to do their jobs and deliver services because of staffing cuts and office closures. Spare a thought for communities that have become filthy and run down because of Tory funding cuts. Spare a thought for people who are trapped in poverty while the rich continue to get richer. Spare a thought for the disabled and pensioners who are being denied social care. And share a thought for people who are now living on the streets through no fault of their own. 

Only a strong and united Labour Party can win elections, form the next Government and reverse all of the things I have just mentioned – something which Jeremy Corbyn and his amazing team of supporters are on a mission to deliver. 

Theresa May’s Brexit honeymoon will not last forever, Britain is going to enter a very turbulent period as Brexit negotiations get under way. Labour needs to unite now for the sake of Britain’s future and to stop the Tories delivering a millionaires’ Brexit while ordinary people are left behind. But most of all, Labour needs to start holding the Tories to account and show the people of Britain that it is a strong and credible opposition capable of forming the next government. 

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Jeremy Corbyn is not responsible for Labour’s defeat in Copeland, the rot set in under New Labour 

Labour’s defeat to the Conservatives in Copeland was devastating, but not surprising. Data shows that Labour’s vote share in Copeland fell under Gordon Brown in 2010 and Ed Miliband in 2015.

Copeland voted Brexit by 62%, yet Jamie Reed backed Remain which shows he failed to represent his constituency. This, along with disunity in the Labour Party, would not have gone unnoticed when Copeland went to the ballot box on 23 February. 

Copeland CLP selected the wrong candidate. Despite the constituency voting Brexit by 62%, the CLP decided to opt for anti-Brexit and anti-Corbyn candidate Gillian Troughton. Copeland had already been unrepresented by Jamie Reed during the EU referendum and the last thing the constituency would have wanted was another right-wing Labour MP who clearly went against the will of the people. 

Gillian Troughton made her negative feelings about Jeremy Corbyn well known on social media, and voters are sick and tired of the disunity in the Labour Party that is being caused by so-called ‘moderates’, also known as right-wing or Blairites. So why would Copeland elect a female version of Jamie Reed? Why would Copeland elect an MP who has no respect for Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn? 

Blaming Jeremy Corbyn for Labour’s defeat in Copeland is a lazy argument and lets the CLP off the hook. Had they selected Jeremy Corbyn’s pro-Brexit candidate then the outcome of the by-election might have been different. 

What will it take for Labour’s so-called moderates to grasp that their style of politics is dead? How many more defeats does Labour have to endure? Gareth Snell, another right-wing candidate who opposed Brexit in pro-Brexit Stoke, only managed to win the Stoke by-election by the skin of his teeth. UKIP came second and I was disappointed at the number of votes Gareth Snell received. Again, had Jeremy Corbyn’s pro-Brexit candidate been selected by the CLP then Labour’s vote share might have been higher. 

Toxic Blairites Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson came scurrying out of the sewer literally a week before Labour’s two by-elections and called for Remainers to ‘rise up’ against Brexit. Peter Mandelson also said that he tries to undermine Jeremy Corbyn daily. The pair of them, along with their toxic followers, will be full of glee that Labour was defeated in Copeland; it must feel like Christmas has come early, as they will undoubtedly attempt to launch another leadership coup and use Copeland as the reason. This was all part of their plan all along. 

New Labour disenfranchised 4 million working class voters and Jeremy Corbyn is the first Labour leader in decades to represent working class people, but whenever he makes any progress, toxic Tony and his supporters scurry out of the gutter and sabotage it. They really are lower than vermin. 

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If Labour loses Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent, don’t blame Jeremy Corbyn – blame the candidates 

To say I am appalled and dismayed at Labour’s chosen candidates for Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent is an understatement. Gillian Troughton will stand in Copeland and Gareth Snell in Stoke-on-Trent. Despite both Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent voting Brexit, both candidates are against Brexit – and have no respect for Jeremy Corbyn. 

I have been very outspoken about both candidates and I will explain why. Both candidates are of the ‘right’ of the Labour Party. This basically means they are ‘moderates’ or Blairites. Labour selecting candidates who clearly go against the will of the electorate has made alarm bells ring: I believe Labour intends to lose Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent so the Blairites can blame Jeremy Corbyn and launch another pathetic leadership coup. 

During last summer’s leadership campaign, Gillian Troughton and Gareth Snell tweeted a series of vile and damn-right libellous comments about Jeremy Corbyn which I will share with you below:

Gareth Snell, candidate for Stoke-on-Trent: 

Gillian Troughton, candidate for Copeland: 

I am appalled that both candidates have tweeted such vile comments about Jeremy Corbyn, yet no action has been taken against them. This shows how inept and one-sided the Labour NEC really is. During last year’s leadership campaign Labour Party members were suspended or expelled for retweeting the Green Party and the SNP. And it comes as no surprise that the majority of members who were purged were Jeremy Corbyn supporters. 

So, in a nutshell if a Labour Party member posts vile and libellous comments about Jeremy Corbyn on social media, they can become parliamentary candidates, but if they retweet another political party then they face suspension or expulsion. Brilliant. 

Most of you know me and know that I am an outspoken person. I have recently been told that both candidates have been selected and I should ‘get over it’ while others have urged me to back the candidates for the sake of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. 

I vehemently refuse to back either candidate unless they publicly apologise to Jeremy Corbyn and for disprespecting Brexit supporters in their prospective constituencies. I am not a hypocrite and I have principles: no way can I back a Labour candidate who clearly has no respect for Jeremy Corbyn or their prospective candidates. 

I do, however, feel that both candidates are the wrong choice; pro-Corbyn and pro-Brexit candidates should have been selected. That said, I hope that Labour does win Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent, but in the event of a defeat Jeremy Corbyn will likely blamed – but the buck should stop with the candidates who are out of touch with their prospective constituents and clearly have no respect for Jeremy Corbyn whatsoever. 

Labour selecting anti-Brexit and anti-Corbyn candidates for pro-Brexit constituencies is a recipe for disaster – just what possibly could go wrong? It would be like putting Tim Farron in charge of UKIP. 

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Labour activist and Progress member Jon Proctor has a criminal record for violence 

Meet Jon Proctor, an outspoken Jeremy Corbyn critic and Labour activist based in the North East of England. Jon spends a great deal of his time criticising Jeremy Corbyn and abusing his supporters on social media. He also claims that Jeremy Corbyn is unpopular in the North East, despite CLPs proving him wrong with voting data, and now he’s spreading the same lies in Copeland.  

Jon, known as @Jon_Lee_Proctor on Twitter, has since launched another Twitter profile @Labour4EU and was recently given a platform by the Guardian to stir up more hatred against Jeremy Corbyn. 

It has, however, come to light that Jon has a criminal record for violent behaviour. On 15 November 2012 he was convicted of causing criminal damage to Linden Foods. Judge Earl ordered him to pay £1100 in compensation for his crime.

Proctor lodged an appeal to the Crown Court and said he had no intention of paying the fine. He also received 30 hours of community service and was ordered to attend a day centre once every two weeks. However, he continued to harass Linden Foods and started a new campaign called ‘Linden Killers’. 

Jon’s Twitter and Facebook timelines are full of abuse and anti-Corbyn bile and he regularly targets Jeremy Corbyn supporters. He is also alleged to have verbally abused a 14-year-old at a LGBT march in Newcastle last year: 

I have no idea if Labour is aware of Jon’s violent criminal past, but judging by his criminal conviction and his online behaviour, he is not the kind of person who should be campaigning for the party and knocking on doors. His manner is aggressive and he clearly has no respect for Jeremy Corbyn or other people’s opinions. 

I will be writing to Labour’s General Secretary, Iain McNicol, as Jon Proctor is not only a menace online but also a very unpleasant individual with a violent past and not the kind of person I want knocking on my elderly father’s front door. 

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If UKIP loses the Stoke-on-Trent by-election then the party’s future will be questionable 

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has confirmed that he will contest the Stoke-on-Trent by-election on 23 February and is confident he will win the seat off Labour. This by-election is a huge test for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, but is an even bigger test for UKIP. 

Stoke-on-Trent voted Brexit and this is a seat that UKIP could potentially win. Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that Labour will not block Article 50, which will go down very well with voters, but his mixed messages on immigration will not. As a Corbyn supporter, even I am confused by his stance on immigration. 

Labour MPs in the party’s northern heartlands have repeatedly warned Corbyn that he must change his stance on immigration otherwise the party’s supporters will look to UKIP. There is no room for complacency in politics and to assume that Labour will keep its safe seats in its northern heartlands is a very misguided view. 

UKIP is exploiting Labour’s mixed message on immigration and this is dangerous. Nuttall is an ex-Tory who stood for the party in 2002 but failed to get elected. He is still a Tory at heart and far from being a man of the working class. 

Nuttall backs Tory austerity, NHS privatisation, grammar schools, has an appalling attitude towards women and the BAME and LGBT community. And he recently attacked Jeremy Corbyn for proposing a cap on bankers’ and fatcat pay by labelling it the ‘politics of envy’. Nuttall also blames Labour and immigration for Britain’s problems, but stays silent about the Tories. He also stays silent about UKIP and the Tories working together in Stoke-on-Trent which has led to the closure of children’s centres and cuts to local services. 

Corbyn has attacked the Establishment, Tory austerity, the NHS crisis, inequality, homelessness, in-work poverty, rising food bank use and the housing crisis while Nuttall and UKIP remain silent because they are afraid of standing up to the Tories, Establishment and upsetting the apple cart. 

I am confident that Labour will win the Stoke-on-Trent by election, and if UKIP fails to win this seat then the party’s future will be questionable. People are now saying that Theresa May’s recent Brexit speech has made UKIP irrelevant and redundant, and I am in agreement. UKIP support is falling across the country and the party is performing badly in local council elections. 

All eyes will be on Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent on 23 February and it will be a fight for survival for UKIP – but the press will be more focused on Labour and Jeremy Corbyn. 

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If the Lib Dems believe they can make gains in Thurrock then they need to think again 

The Lib Dems’ arrogance is breathtaking. The party might have made progress in local council by-elections and had one parliamentary gain after winning the Richmond by-election, but people have not forgotten what the Lib Dems did during their time in government with the Tories. 

The Lib Dems voted to impose Bedroom Tax on 660,000 people, of which 420,000 are sick and disabled. The Lib Dems voted to impose the Tories’ 2012 Health & Social Care Bill which is responsible for accelerating NHS deficits in England and the current crisis affecting hospitals, A&Es and social care. The Lib Dems broke their huge pledge on free tuition fees which was a complete betrayal of every student in the country. And Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has said that he would go back into coalition with the Tories. 

The Lib Dems have never been popular in Thurrock and there is no way their pro-EU stance will win voters here. Thurrock voted Brexit by 73% and the majority of people did so because of immigration, yet the Lib Dems want Britain to remain in the EU and want to continue with open door immigration. This goes completely against the people of Thurrock who overwhelmingly voted Brexit. 

Thurrock will not buy the Lib Dems’ claims that open door immigration has benefited Britain, nor will Thurrock give them Lib Dems a warm reception on the doorsteps. The party might be making gains in traditional Lib Dem areas like the south west of England, but they will have one huge fight on their hands if they enter the political arena in Thurrock. 

The people of Richmond and in the south west of England might have short memories, but the people of Thurrock will never forgive or forget the Lib Dems for being part of the most ruthless Tory government since Margaret Thatcher, and that is why they have absolutely no chance of achieving political gain in Thurrock. So, dream on, Tim Farron. 

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