Jeremy Corbyn pulled off yet another remarkable victory in his bid to retain the Labour Party leadership on Thursday evening.
The Labour branch based in the north-west constituency of Barrow-in-Furness, where around 8,000 people are employed to develop submarines for the Trident nuclear deterrent programme, officially backed anti-Trident campaigner Corbyn for the Labour Party leadership.
An overwhelming 73% of Barrow Labour branch members voted for the current Labour leader — Corbyn 191 / Smith 27.
Corbyn’s team were “chuffed” with the outcome, according to the New Statesman’s George Eaton, and it is no wonder why. This is a mind-boggling result when placed into context.
Barrow’s MP, John Woodcock, currently chairs Labour’s backbench defence committee, which recently produced an extensive report into why the party should back the case for building a new generation of submarines — known as the Successor fleet.
Woodcock, like any candidate who wants to be electable in Barrow constituency, is a staunch defender of the Trident programme. Just over 69,000 people live in Barrow, according to the last census. This means that Successor — the name given to the continuation of the submarine developments — will guarantee job security for nearly 12% of the town’s population. Woodcock was not immediately available for comment.
As you would expect, Corbyn’s anti-Trident stance makes him an unpopular figure with most Barrovians. This is at least partly why Politico predicts Barrow is one of many seats which will go to the Tories in the 2020 election, despite being a safe Labour seat for decades.
In spite of all of this, Corbyn romped to a commanding victory in Barrow, a constituency-level Labour Party (CLP) which backed moderate candidate Andy Burnham in last year’s leadership election. It was a decision which will likely puzzle and anger the majority of constituents, but inject even more momentum into Corbyn’s campaign.
The current Labour leader is the overwhelming favourite to win the leadership contest, despite the majority of his own MPs wanting him replaced by challenger Owen Smith. Even after former leader Ed Miliband endorsed Smith, Corbyn’s odds of winning were being offered at 1/20 (95%) by William Hill.
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