John woodcock

Watch: Labour MP turns on Corbyn in the Chamber over Russia

Oh dear. It’s no great secret that the Parliamentary Labour Party has struggled to get to grips with Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Russia over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent on British soil. However, up until now they had refrained from criticising him directly in the Chamber. Today John Woodcock decided to go there following Theresa May’s statement on Russia. After Jeremy Corbyn claimed in his response that he had always been an outspoken critic of Russian aggression, the Labour MP decided he ‘could not let that remark go by’: ‘I’m sat here reading his article in the Morning Star after Russia annexed part of Ukraine where the

Can Labour MPs use Trident disarray to oust Corbyn?

Demonstrations of Labour party disunity are ten-a-penny these days. But even so, last night’s Trident debate was still something to behold: 140 Labour MPs went against Jeremy Corbyn to back Trident renewal. Yet it wasn’t numbers but the words Labour MPs said which will have damaged Corbyn the most. Scores of backbenchers accused Corbyn of going against the party’s own manifesto policy on the vote. In one of the most damning speeches, John Woodcock said: ‘What Labour’s current front bench are doing is not principled. It shows contempt for the public, for party members and often in what they say for the truth.’ He went on to say the Trident vote

The political theatre of the Trident debate

The Trident debate might be about national security, but all the parties have political points they want to make. Indeed, the reason the debate is happening now is that the Tories wanted something to bring them together, and divide, Labour post-referendum. Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, began with a few kind words for the new Prime Minister. But then, he was straight on to repeatedly—and theatrically—asking the government front bench to set out what the full life time cost of the Trident replacement would be. There is an argument to be had about the cost of Trident—and whether it is the most effective form of defence spending—but Robertson’s argument

Labour backbenchers focus fire on Emily Thornberry again at Defence Questions

Departmental questions in the House of Commons are generally an opportunity for backbenchers of all parties to hold the government to account. But a strange pattern is emerging at Defence Questions, whereby the backbenchers of each of the two main parties pour their efforts into making life uncomfortable for their own frontbenchers, even though Labour’s team isn’t actually in government. So today Michael Fallon and his ministers had to contend with complaints from Sir Edward Leigh about the suggestion that Britain leaving the European Union would harm Britain’s national security. But Emily Thornberry, who is supposed to focus her fire and that of her party on ministers, had to deal

Corbyn’s PMQ performance receives a ‘hostile’ verdict from Labour MP: ‘f—ing disaster’

Today’s PMQs ought to have been a walk in the park for Jeremy Corbyn following days of in-fighting and rebellion in the Conservative party. However, a secret document changed all that, with the Times today publishing a spreadsheet which categorises all the Labour MPs in terms of their loyalty — or lack there of — towards Corbyn. John Woodcock — who is on the ‘hostile’ list — was left unimpressed when Cameron was able to ridicule the party over the list at PMQs: ‘Mr Speaker there are five categories. We’ve got “core support” — I think you can include me in that lot. We’ve got “core plus”, the Chief Whip’s being

Listen: Labour MP calls SNP MPs ‘robots’

Today’s Trident debate in the Commons made for a lively affair, as the SNP made their case for the government to veto plans to renew the nuclear deterrent. Not that they were keen on any other parties having their say during the event, with Labour’s John Woodcock and Jamie Reed struggling to find an opportunity to have their voice heard. When Woodcock — who is fiercely pro-Trident — did get the chance to speak he didn’t mince his words, calling the SNP ‘robots’: ‘You see, I would have been happy to take every single one of you robots in getting your instruction, I would have been happy but the thing is Madame Deputy Speaker

Labour’s social media clampdown should be the least of its worries

Labour appears to be obsessed with its image on social media. If the general election result taught us anything, it’s that opinions on Twitter and Facebook do not reflect the whole country. Yet at a recent meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee, a decision was taken to create guidelines for its members using social media. Peter Willsman, a member of the NEC, reports on the Grassroots Labour blog: ‘Several NEC members raised the issue of the very harmful leaks to the media and the very damaging way in which social media is being used. It was agreed that we need to develop a Labour Party Code of Conduct in relation to

Labour’s leadership contest turns sour (again)

It seems ‘Taliban New Labour‘ have returned, or at least that’s what some party members would have you believe. Labour MP John Woodcock — who is backing Liz Kendall — has risked the wrath of his party with a blog post about the Labour leadership contest: ‘If those who seek to take his place think the route to victory in the leadership contest is Continuity Miliband with a different accent or gender, or with a higher level of emotional connection, they will consign Labour to another defeat.’ Are these 41 words in anyway controversial? Woodcock doesn’t think so, but the blog post has upset the Labour leadership apple cart. Apparently we are seeing the

Trident has become a political weapon in certain constituencies

One constituency where the Tory attacks about a possible deal between Labour and the SNP work very well is Barrow and Furness, where Labour’s John Woodcock is standing for re-election. The seat includes shipyards where the new Trident submarines would be built, and so any suggestion that Labour might scale back its commitment to Trident is hugely potent for the local campaign. A couple of days after Michael Fallon launched his poorly-received attack on Ed Miliband, in which the Defence Secretary warned that the Labour leader had stabbed his brother in the back and could therefore quite easily stab the UK in the back by forging a deal with the

John Woodcock should know that walls have ears

Labour’s John Woodcock is being teased mercilessly by his colleagues. A recent fundraising event which he organised was secretly recorded – and embarrassing quotes from fellow Labour MPs and candidates, who thought they were speaking behind closed doors, leaked out. Woodcock should know about the sort of dirty-tricks that the parties play on each other. He was the young, wet-behind-the ears bag-carrier who Labour sent out to pretend to be a Tory in order to record events. He got lucky in March 2005 when he caught the Tories’ then Deputy Chairman Howard Flight claiming that the Conservatives would slash spending in power, contrary to their manifesto commitment in that election