NEWS

Owen Smith Compares Labour Leadership Election With Jeremy Corbyn To 'Pulling' His Wife

'That must be leadership.'

10/09/2016 09:58 | Updated 10 September 2016

Owen Smith has put forward “pulling’ his wife, Liz, as evidence he will win the Labour leadership election.

In an interview with The Mirror, the MP for Pontypridd referenced his younger days when he took his A-levels at a school with an incredibly high ratio of boys to girls.

Smith, 46, joked: “Yes, 1,200 boys, three girls and I pulled Liz. So I must have something going on.

“That must be leadership.”

Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Owen Smith takes part in a Labour in Glasgow.

His comments, though apparently jovial, come in the wake of a number of accusations of sexism.

Most recently was an incident involving the following tweet about SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

Smith said of the incident: “It was a joke tweet. I don’t think it was in any way meant to be intended in any way other than that. No, I don’t regret it. I just think it was a bit of political banter during an election contest.”

The latest polls in the race against Jeremy Corbyn to become the next Labour leader have not looked promising for Smith.

A YouGov survey for The Times last month of those entitled to vote in the contest puts the current Labour leader on 62% with Smith trailing on 38%.

Corbyn received just shy of 60% of the vote when he was elected to the job in September 2015, reports the Press Association

To add to the Welshman’s woes, his own Labour constituency members are backing Jeremy Corbyn by a margin of two to one, according to new data seen by HuffPost UK.

The figures, gathered by the Corbyn campaign, found that 64% of party members in Pontypridd will vote for the leader, and just 29% for their local MP.

Some 56% of Pontypridd CLP members responded to the straw poll, with 5% saying they were ‘undecided’ and 2% refusing to say.

The statistics - contained in an internal memo - were compiled from Labour members contacted via phone call, text, email or online campaign apps, as well as from shared data provided by Labour HQ.

Despite the stats Smith laid bare just how crucial he believes winning the contest is during the interview with the Mirror.

He said: “I have to do it. 

“Labour is on the brink of disappearing as a serious party and that would be a disaster for places like this that have relied on it for 100 years.

“Just over there [inPontypridd] is the Royal Mint which was moved here from London in 1967 by the Wilson government to put back jobs which had been lost from mining.

“But things like that only happen when Labour is in power. If, like me, you come from this part of the world and have friends who rely on public services, you know deep down you have to have a Labour government. And we are never going to have one with the current leadership.”

Smith and Corbyn faced off on Thursday night in a special edition of BBC Question Time, with the current Labour leader generally seen as giving the best performance.

In the none-too thrilling programme, arguably the most entertaining moment came as the end credits started to roll.

As the special edition drew to a close, the audience appeared to vote with their feet.

Many took to the stage in an attempt to get a selfie with both men - or more accurately, just Corbyn.

To add to Smith’s embarrassment, he also appeared to assume an approaching gentleman was going to shake his hand only for him to walk straight past and towards a photo opportunity with his opponent.

To be fair, Smith was talking to some audience members as the credits closed but Corbyn had the bigger crowd by far.

 

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