St Albans Labour stalwarts give their opinion on Jeremy Corbyn leadership
Local Labour party representatives have given their support to the appointment of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as leader - even though they did not all back him.
The Herts Advertiser spoke to three Labour figures from the district to hear their views on the landslide victory, which saw Corbyn win with an impressive 59.5 per cent majority.
Not everyone backed Corbyn in the election but all agreed they would support the newly appointed leader.
Jacob Quagliozzi, former councillor for London Colney, joked he was one of the few people who voted for ‘Blairite’ Liz Kendall.
He said of Corbyn’s win: “I think everybody has to recognise that he ran a very good campaign to galvanise something that the Labour Party hasn’t been able to do for years.
“He will appeal to people who want a sense of authenticity that has maybe lacked in the past couple of years, but I think it’s wrong to think this is just about Jeremy Corbyn. What’s more important is the beginnings of a grass roots movement.”
Batchwood councillor Roma Mills was strongly in favour of Corbyn and was delighted with the win. She said: “I’m very much in support of Corbyn and I was very open about that during the election.
“I look forward to campaigning for a Labour Party that he is at the front of. He is a man who is developing policy from the grass roots of the party.
“I think it will give us an alternative to the austerity measures that there’s been a lot of. He gives an alternative voice to the ongoing cuts which affect us here, even recently with the loss of Home-Start.”
Kerry Pollard, former MP and Labour prospective parliamentary candidate at this year’s general election, voted for Yvette Cooper, but maintained he would support Corbyn ‘all he can’.
He said: “Much of what he espouses I support [including] rail nationalisation [and] building affordable homes - here in St Albans we have families in B&Bs.
“I also support his anti-Trident stance. He has a huge task ahead to win back lost voters.”
Malachy Pakenham, Labour councillor for Batchwood, didn’t want to disclose who he voted for as he said some people may view it as ‘divisive’, but had some positive things to say about Corbyn.
He said: “I’ve known him for a long time and he helped me out years ago with a constituent, I have always found him to be very straight forward and helpful.
“When other people might have shied away from helping, he didn’t, and he’s been a very reliable Member of Parliament.”
Cllr Pakenham added that he agrees with his stance on nationalising the railways, which he believes would have positive impact on the commuter heavy St Albans district.