STEPHEN HEPBURN: Enjoy the ‘Tom and Jerry’ show as Corbyn and Watson take on ‘posh Tory jokers’

Jeremy Corbyn takes to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader at a special conference at the QEII Centre in London.  Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Jeremy Corbyn takes to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader at a special conference at the QEII Centre in London. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

I hope you get over the next few years to meet Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the Labour Party.

Because he’s a good, decent, principled man who tirelessly devotes his life to championing the welfare and rights of ordinary people to make Britain and the world a better place.

Jeremy fights austerity, backs higher wages, wants real opportunities for the young, supports building houses to rent and buy, opposes NHS privatisation, wants to revive public ownership of the railways, values civil liberties here and abroad, cares about the environment and battles against needless wars.

I’ve known him for years when we’ve joined forces, united to vote against disasters such as the Iraq invasion or served together on committees in Parliament.

So I was delighted for him, the Labour Party and the country who will be offered a clear choice at the election when Jeremy was crowned leader of the party with a stunning 60% of the votes.

Three months ago he was a 200-1 outsider and pulled it off by electrifying supporters, especially the young, who queued to hear him speak on Tyneside and in every corner of Britain.

It was a truly extraordinary victory and a historic day in Britain’s political history was sealed with the brilliant Tom Watson winning the Deputy’s job.

I voted for Tom and had nominated my good friend Andy Burnham for the top post. Andy’s a class act. He joined us in the struggle to save the Jarrow NHS Walk In Centre from the Tory axe, pledging a Labour Government would keep it open.

When the people of the Jarrow Parliamentary Constituency needed Andy, he was there for us and we’ll never forget him for that.

But for Andy it wasn’t to be against Jeremy. The party has spoken. It wanted Corbyn not Burnham at the helm and I accept that.

You’ll enjoy the new Tom and Jerry show. Corbyn and Watson should make a formidable pairing who’ll force Tory posh jokers Cameron and Osborne to laugh on the other side of their faces.

Expect fireworks and smears from desperate Conservatives and political rivals worried about the new kids on the block.

I want to see a united Labour Party, passionate and committed.

A Labour Party going toe-to-toe against a cruel Tory enemy that continues to launch reckless attacks against the vulnerable and disabled.

A Labour Party that offers a brighter future for all.

A Labour Party wedded to fairness and economic prosperity for the many, not a Tory rich few.

A Labour Party that understands our public services were built up for generations by the dedicated workers who should be cherished.

A Labour Party that helps everybody get on in life.

Over the next four-and-a-half years unshackled Tories will unleash misery on people who work hard and are entitled to an improved deal.

Only a mind as warped by ideology as that of George Osborne could turn an increase in the minimum wage into lower pay by slashing tax credits filling purses and wallets.

Tories should hang their heads in shame when the Chancellor’s pathetic excuse for a “recovery” will not bring wages back to the 2007 value for another two years.

The last Labour Government made mistakes but we had a record that is miles better than the failure of this Tory lot.

The Labour Party won’t cease to fight for you whether you live in the Boldons, Hebburn or Jarrow, South Shields or Gateshead.

Whether you’re young or old, you’re unemployed or in a job, self-employed or running a business, poor or comfortably well off, disabled or as fit as a fiddle. Or whether you were born in our area or moved here.

I’m confident Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson will do the same. They’re on our side. I wish them both every success. A lot of hard work lies ahead to expose the Tories and set out Labour’s attractive alternative.

I urge everybody in the Labour Party to get behind them and every Labour voter to give them a chance. And next time Jeremy’s speaking in the North East, try to get along. I bet you’ll like what he says.