Corbyn ally Chris Williamson to run for Parliament as 'test case' for Labour leader

Posted On: 
2nd May 2017

Former MP Chris Williamson will stand for Labour in the coming election in what he describes as a “test case” for Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. 

Chris Williamson lost in Derby North by 41 votes
Chris Williamson

Mr Williamson will try to win back the Derby North seat he represented from 2010 to 2015, when he lost to Conservative MP Amanda Solloway by just 41 votes.

Mr Williamson, who has been a prominent supporter of Mr Corbyn, made clear that he would be using his candidacy to back the Labour leader.

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“Jeremy Corbyn has given Labour back its true values and our fighting spirit. The party now has all the policies that I believe can win, from reinvestment in our economy to fair taxation,” he said.

“Labour has a common sense policy agenda, it’s popular and it’s what this country desperately needs.

“But the Tory establishment refuse to engage with it and that has unfortunately been the case since going back to when the Labour party first won free health care for this nation – they said it couldn’t be done, I’m out to show it can and it must.”

The former council leader said he was “proud to be a Derby man” and pledged to “fight our corner against the country’s elites”.

Months after losing his seat in 2015, Mr Williamson put himself forward to be the Labour candidate in the Oldham West and Royton by-election but Jim McMahon was subsequently selected.

He also failed in a bid last year to take a seat on Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Frank Field warned the party was facing a “tragedy” in June, as voters turned away from the party’s platform due to concerns about Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

He told the i newspaper: “The problem we have to face is that quite a bit of the programme would actually see us home, but once people know it’s Jeremy’s programme, they don’t want to vote for it.

“And we do have to at some stage be mature enough to face that. It’s a tragedy to have a programme that’s going to be more fit for the hour than the Tories would ever dream of, and that we can’t score an election win on it.”

Recent polling showed little change in public support for Labour policies when they were presented as Mr Corbyn’s proposals rather than the party’s.