Interviews with Sadiq Khan and Jon Lansman on May 3rd 2018
The polls have now closed for the local elections in England for 2018 but a few hours ago I caught up with Sadiq Khan the mayor of London at a Labour rally attended by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, founder of Momentum Jon Lansman, and the journalist Owen Jones as well as several local candidates.
In a succession of speeches, the speakers fired up the crowd reminding them of the importance of getting people to vote Labour.
During his speech and his later interview with us (see above) Khan repeatedly acknowledged Jeremy Corbyns success in bringing new ideas into Labour and helping the party succeed saying that the high level of support for Labour "shows the difference we’re making with Jeremy's leadership" because with Corbyn “there are no, no-go areas for Labour anymore, that’s the difference good leadership can make."
Khan also described the energy within Labour as "phenomenal" and stressed the importance of unity stating “united parties win elections, divided parties lose them."
I also caught up with the founder of Momentum Jon Lansman to ask him what he thought was behind Labours recent surge in support (see below).
In the interview, Lansman explains that he believes people are worried by issues like being unable to purchase a house and that “People are fed up of austerity, they are fed up of public services that are really run down and not working, an NHS that isn’t working properly.”
The Labour party is hoping to hold onto the councils it won in 2014 and make gains in Barnet, Westminster, and Wandsworth. Some Conservative campaigners I spoke to earlier are privately concerned that Labour may very well steal Conservative strongholds like Westminster which the Tories have held since it was created. Labours challenge will be to get out the numbers to vote but if they succeed the Conservatives may be in for quite an upset.
LibDem and Green voters may prove to be a bit of a thorn in Labours side as they vote to send a message about Brexit to the two major political parties. One Labour candidate I spoke to today said that Labour is in a hard place because although some candidates privately support remaining in the EU if they were to come out in favour of stopping Brexit publically they would "lose half their votes."
Whatever happens, we will wake up tomorrow in a changed London... that is those who get any sleep tonight will. The rest of us will see the result slowly unfolding before us. The outcome of the elections may not be ideal for any of the parties but they will certainly be interesting to see.