Prominent politicians from Stevenage and North herts think Yvette Cooper will be Labour’s next leader

MP Yvette Cooper and Councillor Sharon Taylor.

MP Yvette Cooper and Councillor Sharon Taylor. - Credit: Archant

Prominent Labour politicians in Stevenage and North Herts think Yvette Cooper will make history and become the party’s first female leader.

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor is backing the former shadow home secretary to become the party’s next leader after seeing her speak at a leadership hustings in Stevenage on Saturday.

North Herts District Council Labour leader Frank Radcliffe is personally supporting her left-leaning rival Jeremy Corbyn, but thinks that Yvette will go on and become the party’s next leader.

Councillor Taylor said: “I thought it was a very positive meeting. My overall impression was that the quality of the candidates was really quite impressive. It is a key decision who leads us for the next few years and I am backing Yvette Cooper because she has proved herself as the shadow health secretary and I think she demonstrates the values of our party.”

Councillor Radcliffe, who replaced Judi Billing as the North Herts Labour group leader earlier this month, said: “It was a lively debate. All the candidates said their piece. I think Jeremy Corbyn was best received by the crowd even though they weren’t allowed to clap or jeer.

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“Yvette Cooper talked about disability benefit and about when she was off sick for a year and how difficult it was for her. Everyone was very polished, especially Yvette, and I think it is time for a woman to be leader.

“I’m supporting Jeremy but I think he is there to balance the argument. I think Yvette will probably win.”

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The other candidates at the hustings, held at The Forum Conference and Banqueting Suite in the town centre, were Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall.

There were reports that Ms Cooper, Mr Burnham and Ms Kendall were booed by the audience when they refused to condemn Conservative welfare cuts and for refusing to scrap the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent programme if they became Prime Minister.

Mr Corbyn, a long-standing supporter of nuclear disarmament, is said to have received a warm response for condemning them both.

The candidate replacing Ed Miliband as leader will be announced on Saturday, September 12.

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