Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

Straight-talking, street-walking politics

It is fair to say I have not been flavour of the month with many Labour members since criticising Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership a few weeks back. A handful of local Labour members, or at least someone claiming to be, have even set up an anonymous Twitter and Facebook account campaigning for my deselection.

Some of the criticism has been constructive; most has been downright hostile. I was particularly taken by being told I was worse than Judas because at least Judas had the good grace to hang himself. As for the anonymous trolls – well, they can get in the sea.

Leaving aside for a second the question of whether I am a latter-day Judas and Jeremy is the Messiah, there are elections to win. In an attempt to harness more of the online zeal for Jeremy Corbyn into action for our excellent local Labour candidates on the doorstep I have decided to hold ‘Knock Your MP: Door Knockers Only’ sessions from now until polling day.

Simple set-up: in addition to the usual opportunities at local Labour meetings, I will meet local Jeremy Corbyn fans who want to give me a piece of their mind face to face, as long as they have spent two hours on the doorstep for Labour with me first.

The first session will be in Dalton this Saturday where we have a council byelection on 5 May. We will meet at 10.30am for the already arranged session at the Newton pub to go out on the door, meeting straight afterwards in Dalton town hall. Then we will be in Ulverston next Friday where we have all-out town council elections as well as the police and crime commissioner campaign. My newly opened Ulverston office will be the meeting place at 4pm, and will also serve as the place for members to give me a roasting afterwards.

All local Labour supporters who do not like me criticising Jeremy are welcome, indeed JC fans from further afield too – the more the merrier (at least for the candidates, who will get more people supporting them out on the knock. A larger shellacking from a greater number of angry people may be less fun for me, but hey ho).

Hopefully this will turn what has been a rather negative experience into something a little more positive. If it works, I am happy to offer myself for a verbal beating at other campaigns across the country who think that more Corbynistas may come out campaigning if they can combine it with the chance to tell me what an idiot I am for saying I do not think our leader can get enough support to beat the Tories in 2020.

Let’s call it straight-talking, street-walking politics.


John Woodcock is member of parliament for Barrow and Furness. He tweets @JWoodcockMP

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John Woodcock MP

is member of parliament for Barrow and Furness


  • Don’t pander to them John. Since when did Jeremy like and support every leader of the party. He is tough enough to look after himself and doesn’t need a crowd of syncophants fighting his battles.

  • It’s vaguely ludicrous, this Blairite claim that unless one knocks on doors, one isn’t a “proper” Labour supporter. What next – a suitable pedometer reading needed for people who vote for the Labour leader?

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  • Yes because the only way to show your activism and prove yourself to the great and the good is to go out bashing on doors. Then off for a quick pint at the pub (otherwise known as exclusive networking).
    I am so sick of leafleting being the barometer of ‘real’ membership. Everytime I see something like this my heart sinks a little more and the distance between me and the party grows physically ever further.
    I am disabled, as many Labour party members are and I have both mobility and fatigue issues the only way for me to engage with my local Progress party or momentum is by physically attending meetings or turning up to the happy clappy leafleting sessions before trotting off to the nearest eatery or hostelry to ‘digest the days proceedings’ happy in your abelist selves about how amazing you all are for knocking on doors and proving your commitment to the cause. Whilst I try to get my head round the casual #Everdayabelism that exists in my party!

  • I simply think you are not beneficial to the party, because of the public stance you have taken, and the views you hold, which I think are not those that Labour should be pursuing. I just don’t think that the party is going to emerge from all this strife united – its only the electoral system which holds the party together.

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