Labour MP John Woodcock mocks Jeremy Corbyn's calls for unity at private conference event

John Woodcock entertained the crowd by telling them the story of a seven-year-old who thinks Labour is 'f*****'

Doug Bolton@DougieBolton
Monday 28 September 2015 17:31
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell at the second day of the annual party conference
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell at the second day of the annual party conference

Jeremy Corbyn's leadership and calls for unity within the party have been mocked by Labour MPs at this year's conference in Brighton.

As reported by The Telegraph, John Woodcock, Labour-Cooperative MP for Barrow and Furness, made a mocking speech at a private event hosted by the Labour group Progress, an independent Blairite organisation of party members.

In part of his speech, Woodcock said that the attendees must respect the view that the 40,000 new members that Labour has gained since Jeremy Corbyn became leader represent a "sign of hope" for the party.

However, he also joked that view that Labour is "f*****" since the election of Corbyn as leader should also be respected.

Woodcock said: "We must respect the other view which was put to me in really pithy terms by a candidate who hadn't been able to win their seat."

"This person had been discussing the ramifications of the leadership result with their children and family."

"A seven-year-old marched in and said 'la la la, we're f*****.'"


"She's a seven-year-old so I'm not saying I endorse that, but obviously her parents were not happy with her swearing. They told her that it wasn't appropriate language and she said: 'It's OK mummy, it's in context.'"

"In this new tolerant environment where we all go forward it is probably better if I leave it there."

Woodcock's joke was greeted with laughter from the audience, which included former home secretary Charles Clarke.

However, despite Woodcock's string of jokes about Corbyn, one Progress member admitted that the group is in "tatters", and said a new Blairite group is being set up by Streatham MP Chuka Umunna, in order to replace the "toxic brand" that Progress has become.

Woodcock himself said that it was time for Progress and other Blairite Labour members to "regroup and look to the future" in light of Corbyn's win.


The number of new members Labour has gained since Jeremy Corbyn became leader

Woodcock supported last-place candidate Liz Kendall during the Labour leadership election. However, in the aftermath of Corbyn's victory, Woodcock congratulated the new leader and called for unity in a comment piece for The Guardian, in which he said it was time for Labour supporters to "understand there is now truly more that unites us than divides us."

Responding to the release of his jokes at the Progress event on Twitter, Woodcock wrote: "Regarding the tape of my reception remarks: Oh lighten up a bit. I blame the parents. And the seven-year-old, who is probably a #RedTory."

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