Corbyn’s ally in row over ‘stupid woman’ jibe at Theresa May is ‘his chosen successor as Labour leader’
- Labour Party sources say Left-winger Laura Pidcock may be Corbyn’s successor
- Ms Pidcock defended the leader over his alleged ‘stupid woman’ jibe at the PM
- The North West Durham MP is a member of the hard-Left Momentum group
19:29 EST, 21 December 2018
06:50 EST, 22 December 2018
The woman Labour MP who led the bid to defend Jeremy Corbyn over his alleged ‘stupid woman’ jibe at Theresa May will be rewarded by being his chosen heir and successor as party leader, say well-placed party sources.
Firebrand Left-winger Laura Pidcock leapt to her feet in the Commons to denounce ‘pathetic’ Tories during Wednesday’s row over the Labour leader’s muttered comment about the Prime Minister.
And she went on TV and Twitter to claim Saint Jeremy hadn’t got a sexist bone in his body and to dismiss Conservative protests as an attempt to ‘divert attention from the Government’s shambolic rule’.
Ms Pidcock won lavish praise from Mr Corbyn’s allies for her outspoken comments, which were in stark contrast to female Labour MPs such as Stella Creasey who criticised him. ‘Jeremy won’t forget Laura’s loyalty,’ said a senior Labour source. ‘He thinks she’d make a great leader.’
Loyal display: Laura Pidcock with Jeremy Corbyn. Ms Pidcock leapt to her feet in the Commons to denounce ‘pathetic’ Tories during Wednesday’s row over the Labour leader’s muttered comment about the Prime Minister
Ms Pidcock is a member of the hard-Left Momentum group, which propelled Mr Corbyn to the Labour leadership, and after entering the Commons as North West Durham MP in 2017, she said she could not be friends with a Conservative
If Ms Pidcock, 31, becomes Labour leader, expect more, not less, personal hostility between the two main parties’ front benches. She is a member of the hard-Left Momentum group, which propelled Mr Corbyn to the Labour leadership, and after entering the Commons as North West Durham MP in 2017, she said she could not be friends with a Conservative.
‘It’s visceral – I’m not interested in being cosy,’ she said. ‘The idea that they’re not the enemy is simply delusional.’ She later reiterated her hatred, saying she would never ‘fraternise’ with a Tory. Even before this week’s ‘stupid woman’ rumpus, many Labour MPs, male and female alike, were agreed the party’s next leader is likely to be a woman.
‘Anti-Semite musician’ row
A Labour MP has been forced to apologise for tweeting in support of a musician his own party labelled a ‘vile anti-Semite’.
Chris Williamson, a Jeremy Corbyn ally, voiced support for Gilad Atzmon, who once accused ‘Zionists’ of trying to ‘take over the world’ and said ‘Hitler may have been right’. The row began after Atzmon, a jazz saxophonist, was banned by Islington Council from playing with the Blockheads band at Islington Assembly Hall.
Mr Williamson posted a link to a petition to get him reinstated, alongside the caption: ‘Hands off Gilad Atzmon – sign the petition!’
After social media users and Jewish groups reacted angrily, Mr Williamson posted an apology. Atzmon denies being anti-Semitic.
How could the party that considers itself the standard bearer of feminism carry on never having had a female leader in its 100-year history, went the argument – especially when the supposedly old-hat Tories are on their second female leader and could be on their third female leader if, as is possible, Mrs May steps down before Corbyn. Senior Labour figures, including several in Mr Corbyn’s inner circle, say his ‘stupid woman’ jibe has sealed the matter – he was seen mouthing the words but claimed he had said ‘stupid people’.
A Corbyn ally said: ‘We have had 23 male leaders and if Jeremy goes and we elect a 24th man, we will be a laughing stock. It will have to be a woman.’
Friends of Mr Corbyn, who is 70 next year, believe he is unlikely to lead Labour into the next election, due in 2022, and is ready to stand down if he can find a suitable successor.
He is said to have been ‘greatly impressed’ by Ms Pidcock since promoting her to Shadow Minister for Labour earlier this year.
Her emergence as his preferred successor means she has eclipsed fellow ambitious women contenders Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.