Liz kendall

Liz Kendall is right – we don’t value social care enough

Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. In politics, it’s more often than not the latter that matters most. Liz Kendall, star of my somewhat unsuccessful 2015 campaign to ‘Make Liz Kendall Labour Leader and Queen of Everything’, has been pilloried online for suggesting care workers would be ‘better off stacking shelves at Morrisons’ given their pay and conditions. Her remarks were pounced upon as proof of snobbery towards supermarket staff, a largely unacknowledged army of key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. As ever with outrage rampages, the truth is a bit more prosaic. Here is Kendall’s question in full: ‘Despite repeated promises, the truth is

The Spectator summer party, in pictures | 6 July 2016

In recent weeks, Westminster politicians have found themselves compared to the characters of House of Cards and Game of Thrones over their post-referendum antics. Happily, parliamentarians were able to put such differences aside on Wednesday night as they took a well-deserved break from work at The Spectator summer party. As Labour’s Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall caught up with Liz Truss, Laurence Fox — the Lewis actor — put on a passionate display for the cameras with his male companion for the evening. Meanwhile with a Tory leadership contest underway, Theresa May made sure to do the rounds and rally support for her campaign at the champagne-fuelled bash. Her efforts did not go unrewarded, with Fox confiding to

Watch: The Spectator’s Brexit debate

In the largest event in The Spectator’s 188-year history, 2,200 people packed into the Palladium this week to watch our debate chaired by Andrew Neil on whether Britain should leave the EU. Dan Hannan, Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey backed Brexit. Whilst Nick Clegg, Liz Kendall and Chuka Umunna argued that Britain was better off remaining a part of the European Union. Leave won the debate, which was sponsored by Rathbones, with a resounding number of the audience siding with Hannan, Farage and Hoey. But if you weren’t lucky enough to make it to the Spectator’s Brexit debate yourself, then you can make up your own mind by watching the

Leave wins the Spectator Brexit debate at the London Palladium

It was the largest debate in The Spectator’s history: we sold out the 2,200-seat London Palladium for our debate on whether Britain should leave the EU, sponsored by Rathbones. The lineup: Dan Hannan, Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey vs Nick Clegg, Liz Kendall and Chuka Umunna. Andrew Neil chaired. Here are summaries of all the speeches, as well as the full audio: Daniel Hannan for Out. Tonight, I’m inviting you to make me redundant – and, into the bargain, make Nigel redundant. And I wouldn’t be doing if I were not confident that there will be plenty of openings for newly-unemployed MEPs in the boom that would follow our exit from the European Union. Why do we

Liz Kendall hits out at ‘old-fashioned misogyny’ on the hard left

Although Liz Kendall insists that she gets on well with her former Labour leadership rival Jeremy Corbyn on a personal level, she is less fond of some of his supporters. While it’s well known that Kendall is on the opposite end of the spectrum to Corbyn when it comes to their political views within Labour, the Blairite says that it is the  ‘old-fashioned misogyny’ of the hard left that she takes issue with. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Kendall says that many members of the hard left targeted her with misogynistic abuse just because she held opposing political views: ‘There’s a lot of old-fashioned misogyny on the hard left; you’ve only got

Can the Blairites rescue the Labour party?

The first conference of the Corbyn era has got MPs and journalists scrambling around for a copy of the Labour party’s rule book. Everyone is trying to work out whether or not scrapping Trident will be debated or not. This is the first skirmish in what promises to be a series of procedural fights between Corbyn and his supporters and what is left of the old party establishment. It would be tempting for Labour moderates to end up expending all their energies in these fights, doing what they can to stop the Corbynites seizing control of the commanding heights of the Labour party. But, as I argue in the magazine

Will anyone fight, fight and fight again to save what’s left of New Labour?

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”James Forsyth and Stephen Bush discuss the upcoming Labour party conference” startat=1650] Listen [/audioplayer]Five years ago this Saturday, Ed Miliband was crowned Labour leader. Three days later, he had to deliver his first conference speech in that role. It was a distinctly underwhelming address. Miliband was overshadowed by his brother, who ticked Harriet Harman off for clapping. To try to give its new leader a better start this time round, Labour decided to announce the result of its leadership contest a fortnight before the party conference. But two weeks has been nowhere near enough time for Labour to come to terms with what has happened. The Parliamentary Labour

Business as usual for Labour as shadow teams get to work

If you’d missed Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, and pitched up to business questions in the Commons today, you might not have noticed that much had changed, initially. Labour had a good frontbench team scrutinising the government, with Angela Eagle leading in her customary dry manner. She asked questions about the skills gap, while Tory ministers complained about Labour’s legacy from its time in government and tried to provoke the Opposition over the Trade Union Bill. Not much change there. But there were differences, even if Labour looked as though it was functioning vaguely effectively after a turbulent few days. The first was that Tory frontbenchers and backbenchers such

Liz Kendall says farewell to frontline politics (for now)

Liz Kendall has all but admitted she is not going to be the next Labour leader. At a speech in Westminster this morning, the shadow care minister spoke about the future of the party and referenced ‘whatever happens on Saturday’ — but she was no longer talking about her plans as leader. Kendall urged Labour to stick together after the new leader is elected, specifically if Jeremy Corbyn wins: ‘First, everyone must – and I believe will – accept the result and mandate of the new Leader. They will have won the right to pursue their agenda and must be given the space and scope to do so. If Jeremy Corbyn wins, it would


Liz Kendall goes ‘Cool Britannia’ with endorsement from Blur musician

Liz Kendall may say she is not the Blairite candidate in the leadership election but her campaign isn’t doing much to suggest otherwise. As well as possessing the most New Labour-esque policies, Kendall appears to be bringing back Cool Britannia. Just as Tony Blair was once the darling of the 90s music movement with musicians like Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher supporting him, Kendall has now won an endorsement from another Brit Pop great. Blur’s drummer Dave Rowntree was the guest of honour at Kendall’s final campaign event this morning, before the election result on Saturday: When Mr S interrupted their Tender embrace to hear why the Girls and Boys had come together at the event, Rowntree came

Diary – 3 September 2015

‘Devon, Devon, Devon/ Where it rains six days out of seven.’ Nothing beats a British seaside holiday. And north Devon is especially blessed when it comes to vibrant weather patterns. We have watched in awe this summer as high-pressure systems from the Continent have collapsed in the face of sturdy Atlantic lows and extreme weather warnings punctuated the news. Our companion in all this has been the Met Office, whose forecasts are dashingly presented by the hunky Tomasz Schafernaker. So it was a shock to see the third-rate bureaucrats running the BBC replace it with some cheap and rather remote New Zealand outfit. Until recently, an institution like the BBC


Tristram Hunt stands firm on Corbyn despite threat of ‘Labour purge’

Yesterday Channel 4’s Michael Crick reported that a pro-Corbyn Unite official had told him ‘careerist’ MPs will be purged from Labour if Jeremy Corbyn gets in. Among those on the list of targets for de-selection was Tristram Hunt, who would ‘make a wonderful scalp’. Yet despite all the noise, Hunt doesn’t seem too bothered. Although his fellow New Labour comrade Chuka Umunna performed a reverse ferret earlier this week over whether he would support a Corbyn-led government, Hunt appears not to be backing down. Writing in this week’s issue of The Spectator, the shadow education secretary says that he does not understand why a lurch to the left would lead to success at the polls: ‘I break


Yvette Cooper responds to Charles Moore over wardrobe comments

Charles Moore recently wrote in his Spectator Notes that a candidate’s looks matter in leadership elections. While discussing the Labour leadership hopefuls, he noted that Liz Kendall ‘looks like a nice person, but not in a distinctive way’ whereas there is ‘something quite appealing’ about Yvette Cooper’s ‘slightly French crop and black and white dresses, especially when she is so boring that one looks rather than listens’. Not everyone was charmed by Moore’s critique, with many defending the ladies’ honour online and Nicola Sturgeon even intervening on Twitter. Now Cooper has responded to Moore in an interview in this week’s issue of The Spectator. Speaking to Mr S’s colleague Isabel Hardman, Cooper says the remarks were ‘the

Harriet Harman: we are not purging Corbyn supporters

The summit on the integrity of the Labour leadership contest is over and interim leader Harriet Harman described it as a ‘routine’ and ‘useful’ meeting. Although she is ‘confident that there won’t be questions over the integrity of the result and there aren’t any bases for legal challenges’, some of the numbers released on the number of infiltrators are pretty high. 3,000 ‘cheats’, as Harman described them, have been excluded from voting so far but the final number could be substantially higher. Harman has suggested the selectorate would be ‘fewer than 600,000. It will be over half a million’ — meaning there are tens of thousands of rogues still to be weeded out. Around 60,000 people are expected to

Do Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall look like leaders?

A hidden reason for Mrs Thatcher’s victory in 1975 was that lots of older Tory backbenchers fancied her. She was 49 and made the best of it without obvious strain. She was not disturbingly sexy, and she behaved with absolute propriety throughout, thus preventing any filthy old wretch from taking liberties, but she appealed to the chivalrous instincts of the knights of the shires. If today’s Labour selectorate knows the meaning of the word chivalry at all, it is only to denounce it. On the other hand, there is an understanding that no leader — especially, despite the age of equality, a woman — can look grotesque on television and

Louise Mensch adds yet another Twitter gaffe to her list

Louise Mensch has once again become the subject of much ridicule online over something she has tweeted. The incident occurred last night after the former Tory MP claimed Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters — who have recently been accused of being anti-semitic — were insulting Corbyn’s Labour leadership rival Liz Kendall. Mensch claimed that Twitter’s autocomplete function showed that the most common search words to appear by Liz Kendall’s name were ‘Nazi’, ‘Zionist’ and ‘Jews’. To prove this Mensch even offered a photo of the ‘auto searches’ to demonstrate the ‘sewer that is Jeremy Corbyn’s support’. Alas there was a catch. As each suggestion appeared next to an ‘x’, this means that the words were her own search history rather than the work

The Spectator’s notes | 20 August 2015

Watching the very pleasant Liz Kendall on television this week, I was struck by how extraordinary it is that more than 40 years have now passed since the Conservatives selected a woman leader and still the Labour party cannot bring itself to do so. (Although, come to think of it, it took Labour 142 years to catch up with the Conservatives in selecting a Jew, so perhaps we have another century to wait.) I am not necessarily saying that Ms Kendall is the answer — she seems able, but inexperienced — but there does appear to be a serious barrier to women at the very top of the Labour party.

Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall deny Peter Mandelson asked them to drop out

He may be out of power but Labour’s Prince of Darkness is still attempting to pull the strings. Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that Peter Mandelson suggested to Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall that they should drop out of the Labour leadership contest in order to have the whole thing called off. One source told the paper ‘Lord Mandelson and other Blairites were saying – this is a disgrace, let’s get this thing pulled. But it was not going to happen’. On the Today programme, Yvette Cooper gave a guarded answer as to whether there had been any contact with Mandelson. Cooper denied she had spoken to him directly, but left some wiggle room if it emerges there had

A Twitter snapshot of the Labour leadership struggle

Who would win the Labour leadership contest if it were decided by the number of Twitter followers? Jeremy Corbyn 94,200 Andy Burnham 85,400 Yvette Cooper 72,800 Liz Kendall 35,900 And the nascent Tory leadership battle? Boris Johnson 1.43m* George Osborne 135,000 Theresa May 0† *For @MayorofLondon; his personal handle has another 73,200. †She doesn’t tweet.


Toxic virus or Taleban: it’s funny how the mild-mannered Liz Kendall has attracted for her Blairite associations the most violently pejorative terms. Hardly had the Labour leadership contest begun before her allies were being called ‘Taleban New Labour’. No one thought New Labour was really much like the Taleban. That’s why the metaphor was effective: it suggested generalised maleficence. Many people presume that the Taleban is some immemorial movement within Islam, like the Hanbali school or the Wahhabi sect. But it dates back no more than 20 years, to the exiles who returned to Afghanistan having developed strict practices while students of Islamic law in Pakistan. Talib, more fully talib