The Last Word: IDS out

Turning Chingford and Woodford Green red, Pride in London and the tragic cost of a Tory government – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

Something is happening in north-east London. The area is going Labour. Wes Streeting won the 5,000-Tory majority seat of Ilford North in 2015 with the slimmest majorities. In 2017 his majority went up by 16 times. But next door, in Iain Duncan Smith’s seat something was also afoot. Two years ago, Labour candidate Bilal Mahmood worked tirelessly, assiduously getting around all of the local community groups and putting out as many Labour leaflets as he could get printed or passed on from neighbouring seats. He made a massive, but largely unnoticed, dent in Duncan Smith’s majority. This year the same candidate, Mahmood, got the Tory’s majority down to just 2,438. 

Not content with this, Labour members in Redbridge and Waltham Forest are getting together to get #IDSOut and turn the seat red. 

This Sunday local members of parliament, including Wes Streeting, and councillors and members from both boroughs will pile in for a campaign day like Chingford and Woodford Green have never seen. Owen Jones is coming to launch the campaign and everyone is welcome. 

I cannot wait. Duncan Smith has delivered disastrous benefit changes, huge cuts and led the country out of the European Union as part of campaign of half-truths and wishful thinking. His chickens are finally coming home to roost. The local Tories are rattled and having their own action day because they know they are on the back foot. I will be there from 11am (on the morning after London Pride). It would be great to see Progress members from across London and the surrounding area. 

#IDSOut
11am, Sunday 9 July
7 Hatch Lane, Chingford E4 6LP
Nearest train station: Highams Park

Pride in London

Having a Labour mayor matters. Sadiq Khan has reinstated the Pride in London reception at City Hall so issues around hate crime, safety, access to prep can be raised at the highest level alongside the main pride march this Saturday. While things are getting better in the United Kingdom what is happening to gay Chechens reminds us how much more there is to do. 

LGBT Labour will be there en masse. 

Last year’s march was in the wake of Jo Cox’s assassination, the referendum result and the Orlando shooting. This year it happens after Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park mosque. Showing that London’s diversity is its strength and that its unity is intact is vital. I hope to see you there for a gin and tonic. 

Tory Britain

Not that this kind of poverty started under the Tories but it does feel common place and on the rise in the way it was not – in fact being actively reduced – under Labour. This latest story will make your heart melt. 

This school boy who just wants a toy panda, and his single mum simply cannot afford until – what I assume is payday – 15 July. His actions, and those of the Asda staff, show Britain at its best. It is such a pity the Tory government condemns so many to food banks. Shame on them.

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Richard Angell is director of Progress. He tweets at @RichardAngell

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