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Owen Jones breaks with Labour and backs electoral challenge to the party

JOURNALIST Owen Jones broke with the Labour Party today after more than 20 years of support and launched an initiative to fund and unite electoral challenges to the party.

Mr Jones, a celebrated figure on the left over the last decade and more as a commentator, author and campaigner, announced the creation of We Deserve Better to put pressure on Labour from the left.

It will fund candidates, including independent socialists and Green Party challengers, in particular seats, but is not itself a political party.

“Until now, opposition to Labour has been fragmented,” Mr Jones said.

“We Deserve Better marks the beginning of that opposition coming together to form a serious challenge to Labour in key seats.

“Labour will win the next general election by default thanks to the Tories’ self-immolation.”

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has “alienated Labour’s base” over austerity, child poverty and Gaza, he said, “and taken seats for granted.

“But at the next election, voters will be able to back an alternative based on the politics of hope,” he said.

The new group’s first priority will be supporting the campaign of Jamie Driscoll for North-East Mayor. 

Despite serving as mayor in the region already, Labour blocked Mr Driscoll from the party’s nomination, so he is fighting as an independent.

The group identified Green Carla Denyer in Bristol Central and independent Leanne Mohammed in Ilford North as candidates to be supported and drew strength from the result of the Rochdale by-election, which saw George Galloway elected as MP.

There are now several initiatives aiming at bringing together challenges to Labour from the left at the election, so there will be pressure on them to unite.

Labour national executive rightwinger Luke Akehurst dismissed Mr Jones’s move as a “political temper tantrum.”

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