Meet the contenders vying to become the new Labour Party leader

The powerful union Unite’s executive will meet in London on Friday where they will interview the remaining hopeful candidates for the 2020 Labour leadership contest to decide who to endorse. 

Rebecca Long-Bailey is expected to receive their backing, and endorsement by the influential union will solidify her position in the race to be head of the party, which could mean trouble for front-runner Keir Stalmer.

James Miller, Freelance journalist, and political commentator  explains how union endorsements are “massive” if a candidate hopes to achieve a place on the final ballot.

“You can make an argument that the last 10 years were defined by the unions. For example, making Ed Milliband Labour leader. Clearly, Labour is a movement that has come from the unions and has close ties to them.”

“Unite are very important, certainly in being seen as the heir to Corbyn. You want to have the Unite endorsement, and it looks like Rebecca Long-Bailey is going to get that.”

It has been suggested that Unite would ask its members to put Lisa Nandy as second preference possibly to deny Keir Stamer a clear run in the leadership. Miller says “On the face of it, Nandy is the second most ‘lefty’ candidate. 

Keir Starmer was in the Shadow Cabinet and state loyal throughout so that also gives him a certain amount of currency amount the ‘Corbynistas’, which most of the members are. I think the second preferences are fairly predictable and I;m not sure whether Unite telling people how to place their second preference will make a huge amount of difference.”

Len McCluskey, the general secretary for Unite, is expected to announce their backing decision later this afternoon.

 

Labour Leadership Contest Rundown

The four candidates proceeding to the second round of nominations are: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry. They had to receive sufficient nominations in the first round to get to this stage. 

Clive Lewis, Shadow Treasury Minister, withdrew from the race earlier this week. 

Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham, left the race on Tuesday despite gaining enough nominations to earn a place in the second round. “The Labour Party will need to select a candidate who can unite all parts of our movement, the union movement, members and the elected representatives,” she said, “at this time, that person is not me.”

The final ballot opens 21 February 2020.

 

Meet the candidates

Keir Starmer:

Keir Starmer - UK Parliament official portraits 2017

(MP & MEP nominations: 88)

(Constituency Labour Party nominations: 32)

Sir Keir Starmer has served as MP for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015.

At the time of writing, he has achieved 32 CLP nominations, more than the rest of his opponents combined.

Of the current candidates, Keir Starmer looks most likely to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

In his own words: “I’m now standing to be leader of the Labour Party because I believe I can help unite our movement, take on the Tories and build a better future. When Labour is united, we can achieve anything.

“The NHS, the minimum wage, the Equal Pay Act, peace in Northern Ireland: impossible dreams made possible by Labour governments. We now need to provide an effective opposition to Boris Johnson. We need to start winning elections again – starting with the local elections in May, building to 2024.”

 

Lisa Nandy:

(MP & MEP nominations: 31)

(CLP nominations: 7)

IMG_8767


Lisa Eva Nandy has been the Labour MP for Wigan since 2010. Nandy currently serves as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. She was the second candidate to secure her place on the members’ ballot due to winning the backing of affiliate group Chinese for Labour.

She said: “From working with child refugees and rough sleepers, to a decade in Parliament opposing free schools and tackling climate change as the Shadow Secretary of State – I know that Labour is at our best when we are bold and have the courage of our convictions. I have never shied away from difficult battles and I never will.

“I am standing to be leader of the Labour Party to lead us back into power. The road will be steep, but it doesn’t have to be long. We win together.”

Nandy is set to be the one to challenge front runner Stalmer for the position, though she has less than a quarter of his current constituency nominations.

 

Rebecca Long-Bailey:

(MP & MEP nominations: 33)

(CLP nomination: 7)

IMG_8766

Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles, joined the labour party in May 2016. Bailey currently serves as Shadow business secretary, undertaking the position in 2017.

Before becoming an MP, Long-Bailey studied Politics and Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, then completed “various part-time law conversion and solicitors’ courses.”

She gained the second-highest number of votes (33) from colleagues.

“My vision is one of a democratic, aspirational and decarbonised society that hands wealth and power back to ordinary people,” Long-Bailey said, “I believe we can build a green, democratic future that bridges the deep divides in our electoral coalition.

“This is my ambition – an aspirational, socialist, democratic future that can unite the country and build our path back to power.”

Long-Bailey is yet to receive any endorsements from affiliates or unions, but she is hopeful of securing the Unite backing later.

 

Emily Thornberry:

(MP & MEP nominations: 23)

(CLP nominations: 3)

 

Emily Thornberry has been the MP for Islington South and Finsbury since 2015. Previously, she served in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and then Shadow First Secretary of State.

She was the last candidate to be put forward, garnering 23 nominations from MPs and MEPs.

Thornberry said: “Our greatest strength lies not just in our party’s history, values, or achievements in government, but from the army of union members, CLPs and student activists who’ve inspired all of that, and continue inspiring it today.”

“Our party is at its best when we’re listening to our members and answerable to them, and our best policies are driven by the experience of our members.

That’s the way I’d lead our party, lead the fight against Johnson, and lead us into power. By standing up and fighting back together.”

Hearts favourites to sign striker Liam Boyce after Burton accept bid

Burton Albion have accepted a bid from Heart of Midlothian for striker Liam Boyce.

Boyce is in the process of discussing personal terms with the Edinburgh side, and they are hoping that a deal can be struck to convince the striker to return to Scotland before Rangers’ visit to Tynecastle on Sunday afternoon.

He has netted 14 times in 33 outings for Burton since joining from Ross County and is in the final six months of his contract with the club.

Hearts are the favourites to sign him as it stands, with a fee of around £250,000 being rumoured.

However, the striker may have further ambitions to carry on his successful spell down south rather than enter a relegation battle in the Scottish Premiership, where Hearts are bottom of the table.

Super 6 Preview 

Since the introduction of the Super 6, the quality of rugby in Scotland has not disappointed. This weekend offers up another set of exciting fixtures in the Forsoc Super 6, including an all Edinburgh clash between Heriots Rugby and Boroughmuir Bears, Stirling County will host Watsonians, and Ayrshire Bulls welcome Southern Knights in Ayr.  

This Saturday will see a tasty fixture between Heriots Rugby and Boroughmuir. The Edinburgh sides have struggled to make an impact on the Super 6, with Heriots and Boroughmuir sitting third and fifth respectively. Regardless of that, the tie is set to be a good clash. Boroughmuir just edged Heriots the last time the sides met in November, but, with Heriots having home advantage this time around, it is going to be a tough day for the Bears. Heriots are the only side Boroughmuir have beaten this season, so they will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend. Goldenacre has become a fortress for Heriots, and they will be seeking revenge after their 34-31 loss at Boroughmuir’s Meggetland.

Former Heriots star, Robbie Chalmers, spoke to EN4 News regarding Heriots success of recent times. “The vibe around the club has been positive all season. There is a great club atmosphere at Heriots because all the teams socialise and get on so well with each other. We have done very well so far and are sitting in a nice position towards the business end of the season. We have had a few games where we could have possibly won, but all the games are going to be tight in this league.

Chalmers also expressed his thoughts on the tight game coming up against Boroughmuir this weekend: I am sure the boys will go well this Saturday against Boroughmuir. We have made a few changes to the team from last week, but it is exciting that we can do this because our squad is so strong.” This will be an interesting fixture for Heriot’s this coming weekend. 

Watsonians will travel to Stirling on Saturday to face Stirling County. Although this is a top versus bottom clash, Stirling will have their eyes on a Super 6 upset. Watsonians have been thrilling to watch throughout the competition so far; their quick and expansive style of rugby has left opposition baffled on countless occasions. With just one loss this season – to Ayrshire Bulls – Watsonians are quickly becoming the team to beat, and Stirling County want to be the team to do it. After beating Boroughmuir on the first day of the season, Stirling have struggled to find form, drawing one and losing five of the following six games. This poor run of Stirling form has found the club rock bottom of the league. The last time the clubs met, Watsonians came out on top winning 34-22 at home. Regardless of the league standings, this will be a thrilling and high-scoring game of rugby. 

Sunday’s only game sees Southern Knights travel to Ayrshire to take on the Bulls. Ayrshire put the work in at Melrose to pip the Knights 29-10 the last time they met. It has been a mixed bag of results for Southern Knights, winning two, drawing one and losing four of the Super 6 games this season. On the other hand, Ayrshire will be looking for a bonus point win to put pressure on top place Watsonians. This will be a must-win game for Ayrshire, and a fixture that they will go into with bags of confidence. 

Scottish rugby fans will be hoping for high scoring, tense games of rugby in the Forsoc Super 6. No one can argue that the Super 6 has not been a roaring success; the enthralling games fans are witnessing throughout Scotland makes the Super 6 hard not to love. 

Super 6 Preview

Since the introduction of the Super 6, the quality of rugby in Scotland has not disappointed. This weekend offers up another set of exciting fixtures in the Forsoc Super 6. This weekend will see an all Edinburgh clash between Heriots Rugby and Boroughmuir Bears. Stirling County will host Watsonians and Ayrshire Bulls welcome Southern Knights in Ayr.

This Saturday will see a tasty fixture between Heriots Rugby and Boroughmuir. The Edinburgh sides have struggled to make an impact on the Super 6, with Heriots and Boroughmuir sitting third and fifth respectively. Regardless of that, the tie is set to be a good clash. Boroughmuir just edged Heriots the last time the sides met in November but, with Heriots with home advantage this time around, it is going to be a tough day for the Bears. With Heriots being the only side Boroughmuir have beaten this season, they will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend. Goldenacre has become a fortress for Heriots and they will be seeking revenge after their 34-31 loss at Boroughmuir’s Meggetland.

Watsonians will travel to Stirling on Saturday to face Stirling County. Although this is a top versus bottom clash, Stirling will have their eyes on a Super 6 upset. Watsonians have been thrilling to watch throughout the competition so far, their quick and expansive style of rugby has left opposition baffled on countless occasions. With just one loss this season to Ayrshire Bulls, Watsonians are quickly becoming the team to beat and Stirling County want to be the team to do it. After beating Boroughmuir on the first day of the season, Stirling have struggled to find form, drawing one and losing five of the following six games. This poor run of Stirling form has found the club rock bottom of the league. The last time the clubs met Watsonians came out on top, with a 34-22 win at home. Regardless of the league standings, this will be a thrilling and high scoring game of rugby.

Sunday’s only game sees Southern Knights travel to Ayrshire to take on the Bulls. The previous time the sides met, Ayrshire put the work in at Melrose to pip the Knights 29-10. It has been a mixed bag of results for Southern Knights, winning two, drawing one and losing four of the Super 6 games this season. On the other hand, Ayrshire will be looking for a bonus point win to put pressure on top place Watsonians. This will be a must win game for Ayrshire and a fixture that they will go into with bags of confidence.

Three exciting fixtures to look forward to over the coming weekend. Scottish rugby fans will be hoping for high scoring, tense games of rugby from the Forsoc Super 6. No one can argue that the Super 6 has not been a roaring success, the enthralling games fans are witnessing throughout Scotland makes the Super 6 hard not to love.

 

Carlaw and Ballantyne to contest Scottish Conservative leadership race

Jackson Carlaw and Michelle Ballantyne will vie for the position of Scottish Conservative party leader after nominations for the contest closed at noon .

Carlaw, the acting interim leader, said in Parliament on Thursday that he has shown what it’s got to lead the party.

“I’ve been there, done it. But that entitles me to absolutely nothing,” Carlaw said. “Like everything else in life, what you want has to be earned. And while the members of this party will rightly be the judge of it. I believe I am battle tested.

Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative deputy leader and co-chair of Jackson Carlaw’s leadership campaign, told EN4 News that he is the man to lead the party “through 2020 and beyond”.

Kerr said: “Jackson Carlaw has what we need to deliver the next government of Scotland. I want to be part of the government, I don’t do this to be in opposition. Jackson’s the man that can deliver this for us.

“Time is short, we have only 15 months until the 2021 election – we need experience, we need a proven leader. He’s got a track record and he holds Nicola Sturgeon to account every week in FMQs.”

Jackson Carlaw and Michelle Ballantyne are the only candidates for the position. (Credit: Scottish Parliament)

Ballantyne says she is “up for the fight to become the next Scottish Tory leader” and says she is determined to beat the SNP”. 

Ballantyne claims she will “kick-start a blue-collar revolution in the Scottish Conservatives”.

Meet the contenders vying to become the new Scottish Conservative party leader

As the nominations for the 2020 Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party leadership contest close at noon today, with votes taking place shortly after – EN4News takes an in-depth look at the two candidates vying for the position.


Jackson Carlaw:

Jackson Carlaw - Conservative - Eastwood

(Credit: Scottish Parliament)

https://www.jacksoncarlaw.org.uk/

https://twitter.com/Jackson_Carlaw

Jackson Carlaw is the MSP for Eastwood in the West of Scotland, and is also the current acting leader for the Scottish Conservation Party following Ruth Davidson’s resignation in September 2019. He represented the party in the televised debates throughout the 2019 General Election campaign.

Carlaw serves as the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, and served as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party under Ruth Davidson from 2011 to 2019.

Liam Kerr, Scottish Tory Deputy leader and co-chair of Jackson Carlaw’s leadership campaign, said that the Eastwood MSP is the man to lead the Scottish Conservatives “through 2020 and beyond”.

“It’s a really exciting time for us in the party,” Kerr explained.  

“Time is short, we have only 15 months until the 2021 election – we need experience, we need a proven leader. He’s got a track record, and he holds Nicola Sturgeon to account every week in FMQs.” 

“We are doing a full policy review into looking at the policies that have taken us this far, but also looking at whether the circumstances change since they were put in place, and whether they create opportunity for the people of Scotland and take us forward in a positive way.”

Kerr says that Carlaw is the man that can take the Conservatives into government and is the strongest Conservative MSP to challenge Nicola Sturgeon for First Minister: “Jackson Carlaw has what we need to take us forward with a policy platform. I want to be part of the government, I don’t do this to be in opposition. Jackson’s the man that can deliver this for us.”

Currently, Carlaw looks set to become the next Tory leader.

Proposals:

Carlaw pledges that he will diversify the Scottish Conservative party

 

 

Michelle Ballantyne:

MichelleBallantyneMSP

(Credit: Scottish Parliament)

https://www.michelleballantyne.org.uk/

www.twitter.com/mballantynemsp?lang=en

Michelle Ballantyne is a Conservative Member of Scottish Parliament for the South Scotland region, assuming office in May 2017

Before becoming a politician, Ballantyne was originally a nurse from the south-east of England. She trained at the Royal London Hospital and after moving to Scotland, graduated from Heriot Watt University with an Honours degree.

In her bid for the party leadership, Ballantyne claims she “will kick-start a blue-collar revolution in the Scottish Conservatives”. 

Proposals: 

  • Localism: devolving powers from the party centre back to local associations. We need to hone the relationship between our local associations and the central party, to ensure we can best draw upon the wealth of talent in our associations and support our local councillors.
  • Empowerment: I want to see our associations empowered and trusted to run their own affairs so that the establishment supports associations, not the other way around.

 

  1. Policy: we will give our members a real voice in setting policy. Not only will I re-invigorate policy forums across the country, but we will also hold a special policy convention this year to kick start our blue-collar revolution.
  2. Review: If elected, I will commit to a full review of the party’s structure and look at how we can improve or reform existing arrangements to build on the professionalisation and ensure accountability.
  3. Party Management Board: To ensure that the party’s management board keeps its finger on the pulse of our membership and that it makes sound long term decisions, I will widen the board to include places for an MSP elected by their group, an MP elected by their group, and a councillor elected by councillors. The party board is not the leader’s board. My changes will make the board work for the membership.
  4. Deputy leader: Our MSP group and MP group can find themselves working in separate silos when instead we should be more collaborative and collegiate. If we are to be successful, we need to make sure we coordinate the efforts of all our elected representatives at all levels. I will proactively ensure better lines of communication between both Parliamentary groups, as well as those in local government, and to bring us together as one team I shall appoint my deputy leader from our MP group in the House of Commons.
  5. Councillors: We need to offer councillors as much as support as possible. While a good start has been made, if we are serious about capitalising on our success in 2017, and building a strong foundation for 2022, we need to join up our teams in the Scottish Parliament and in local councils in a more effective manner.

 

Students open up Edinburgh’s first sustainable club night

Students from Edinburgh University are set to launch a new club night for the city. The night, called ‘Zero Chill’, will be Scotland’s first-ever sustainable night club.

The students are part of the social enterprise group “Conscious Change” and will be launching the club night on Friday 17th of January with all products being environment-friendly as well as locally sourced.

The club night will take place in La Belle Angele, a venue that was specifically chosen due to its use of LED lighting and the short distance between Edinburgh’s student hubs.

Resources that are being used include things such as veg-ware cups, which are naturally decomposable and even the toilet paper will be recycled. The group are confident that this will be a big hit with students.

The group leader of conscious change, Imogen McAndrew, has said that the night will be ‘a celebration of global music diversity and global conscious changes’.

“The response has been great. This is just the start and we’ll see what we can do. We’ve nearly sold out tonight so it should be a good night.”

The proceeds from the event will go directly back into the conscious change group and will aim to help students think about the ways that they can help the environment during life at university.

“We can’t escape sustainability. As students, we have the luxury of putting on a night like this. It’s completely in our hands to make a change and we have the platform to do this. Even the legacy we leave for the next group of students is massive.”

The plans for the future are simple. The group want to become one of Edinburgh’s leading club nights whilst being completely sustainable. Once they have got up and running with the event, they will try to replace the biodegradable veg-ware cups with the multi-use steel cup. The idea behind the steel cup is that it will work in a deposit scheme with one glass for the night.

While the group remain optimistic about being able to break into the club market, Edinburgh is already one of the UK’s leading nights out with clubs open through the week. However, Imogen hopes that the unique selling point will be enough to draw the crowds in.

Edinburgh Council unveils strategy for carbon neutrality by 2030

NHS launches campaign to increase male blood donors

Surge in UK pub numbers down to food rather than drink

Body of British backpacker Amelia Bambridge found at sea, say Cambodian Police.

The body of British backpacker Amelia Bambridge has been found at sea, Cambodian police say.

 

The 21-year old Worthing student’s body was discovered by fishermen near the Thai border over 60 miles away from where she went missing. Bambridge who was on a gap-year was last seen at a beach party on Koh Rong island at 3am last week (24 October). 

“The body is being transported to a marina from the Thai border. It will take two hours to reach the mainland,” says Chouin Nairn, police chief of the Preah Sihanouk province.

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which has been helping the Bambridge family throughout the past week, confirmed Amelia’s body had been recovered.

They tweeted: “We are aware of the very tragic news from Cambodia. Amelia Bambridge’s body has been found at sea.

“We are assisting her family. Please respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.”

More to follow…

Luct Trust tweet.png

Source:Twitter (Photo: Family hand-out/FB)

Lights, Camera, Action! – The Edinburgh Short Film Festival 2019 kicks off tonight

Hosting film-makers from across the globe, the 2019 Edinburgh Short Film Festival gets underway tonight, with the sellout first programme ‘Out of Frame’ at the Filmhouse starting at 8:45pm. 

The ever growing festival started off as the Leith Short Film Festival in 2011 and since then has evolved into a landmark event for the capital. Featuring everything from the first film made in Somalia in 20 years, to short films smuggled out of China and Iran, as well as Oscar nominated shorts from around the world. The ESFF is dedicated to providing Edinburgh and Scotland with a vibrant short film festival that is about creating film communities and encouraging the production and screening of artistic work within local and international networks.

25398390_1620993544628847_6835198247635614366_o

Photo credit: Edinburgh Short Film Festival

 

Paul Bruce, the Festival Director has been hard at work getting things in order for tonight’s opening. “Next year is the 10th anniversary so it’s been going for quite a while now.” Bruce says.

“The response has been great. We’re sold out tonight at the Filmhouse and close to selling out this weekend at Summerhall. Edinburgh has a great filmgoing audience and we very much like having them along”.

“This year is special, we’ve got 11 nights and we’re screening some of the best short films internationally and across the UK and even a lot of Scottish short films as well”.

“You see some outstanding short films and outstanding work. I think one of the best aspects is  meeting a lot of the film-makers that come to visit. You meet people from all over the world. We’ve had people from the States, Australia, Japan and finding out how they make their films and meeting them in person is very exciting”.  

“It’s nice to meet people from across Europe and internationally that put on films and short films for audiences, finding out a little bit from them, exchanging cultures and creating Scottish films for overseas audiences. I get a big kick from it.”

ESFF 2019 Trailer from RPP PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

However, Bruce explains it’s not an easy task to put on such a large event:

“Each year we get something like 1,500 to 1,600 short films and you have a selection committee where each film is watched twice, and if a film gets recommended by two people on the committee then it goes onto a long list and from there you watch them again and create a short list. From there you’re kind of balancing programmes so that you have enough comedy, documentary, animation, drama and so on. It’s a long process, it takes around 6 months”.

“There’s a lot of really good films. There’s some amazing animation from Taiwan called ‘Goldfish’ that’s really good. Some Scottish drama with ‘In the Fall’ by Tom Dental. We’ve also got The Oscar winner ‘Skin’ – that’s a remarkable piece of work”.

A free pre-launch networking event is being held tonight at Brewdog in Festival Square from 6.00pm to 8.30pm, before the first show.

For more information about the events visit the festival’s website Or stay updated on recent announcements on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/edinburghshorts/

Tickets are available on the ESFF website here

Ban food and drink on all public transport, says UK Chief Medical Officer

Consuming food or drink on public transport should be banned if Britain hopes to address the country’s obesity crisis, according to Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies.

The proposed ban is believed to affect the consumption of food and drinks on all public transport including buses, trains and trams.

The main aim of the ban is to help combat the UK’s child obesity epidemic by restricting areas where snacking can take place, as well as limiting the sale of unhealthy foods. The ‘snacking ban’ is just one of many proposals laid out in Dame Sally’s final report.

“Children are drowning in a flood of unhealthy food and drink options,” Dame Sally said. “It is about changing the culture so snacking is no longer normalised. We need to make the bus, the train and the tube a safe place for children.

“It is a mindless way to eat and seeing other people eating does prompt you to think about eating.”

Free water refill stations on public transport are also amongst the recommendations.

NHS Scotland released figures last year showing that nearly a quarter of children starting primary school were overweight. Official body mass index figures show only 22.4% of primary one children were above the healthy weight range.

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 10.09.54

Source: Time to Solve Childhood Obesity. An Independent Report by the Chief Medical Officer, 2019

Dr Lauren Wyness a freelance registered nutritionist said that the snacking ban was an ‘interesting’ concept but not one she particularly agrees with. Dr Wyness says that the ban would be impossible to police but worries it would increase people’s ‘food anxiety’.

“It may lead to an unhealthy relationship around food, people may get anxious about snacking because the ban almost implies that snacking is bad but snacking can obviously be quite healthy”

Dame Sally also suggests that VAT should be greatly increased on the ‘unhealthiest’ foods in an effort to subsidise fruit and veg. Standardised packaging of snack foods has also been proposed – following the success of a similar scheme with tobacco products – unless their sugar content is dramatically reduced within two years.

“It’s probably a good idea, but I don’t know how it would actually work.” says one Edinburgh local.  She continued, “What would be more realistic is if they stop serving chocolate on trains, rather than actually stopping people bringing on chocolate. They can’t search someone’s bag before they get on the train”.

Dame Sally has called on politicians across the political spectrum to “come together and take action”.

“The health of our children is in your hands,” she said. “You can take action because you, on behalf of our society shape our environment.”

 

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