LONDON HAS returned a swathe of Labour MPs – with all the seats in East London staying red.
Bethnal Green & Bow (Tower Hamlets) saw a high turnout by local standards, with Rushanara Ali netting an enormous 42,969 votes. The Tories turned in 7,576 votes – quite large, by their standards. Independent candidate Ajmal Masroor secured just 3,888. Ajmal had tried to appeal to the electorate by pointing out that he was the candidate who backed Jeremy Corbyn, while Ali didn’t back Corbyn so much as stab him in the back. Nevertheless, the electorate opted to stay on the safe side and returned a Labour MP. Whether Ms Ali is at all appreciative of the votes that Corbyn has won for her remains to be seen – but don’t hold your breath.
In Poplar & Limehouse (Tower Hamlets), Jim Fitzpatrick has begun eating humble pie – admitting that he got Corbyn all wrong. Another high turnout saw Dim Jim win 39,558 votes – but the Tories picked up 11,846. Independent candidate Oliur Rahman received 1,477 votes.
Labour will be calculating that on this basis, they should walk it at the mayoral and council elections next May because the independent opposition is a spent force. They should not be so hasty. A General Election, where all our people want to get Corbyn to Number 10, is different from a local election, where voters are considering whether to renew their contract with John Biggs and his team.
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Corbyn up; May down – but Parliament hung