In Brief

Jeremy Corbyn is a 'disaster', says Stephen Hawking

World-renowned physicist calls for Labour Leader to step down 'for the sake of the party'

Corbyn and Smith clash in first Labour leadership debate

5 August

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith have clashed on policy and personality during the first hustings debate of the Labour leadership campaign in Cardiff.

Challenger Smith blamed Labour's poor standing in the polls on Corbyn's leadership and warned the party would be defeated at the next election if nothing changed.

"We are 14 per cent behind the Tories under Theresa May," he said. "Two million Labour voters think they would prefer Theresa May to Jeremy Corbyn as the PM of this country. That has got to be a wake-up call."

Both candidates spoke of the need for party unity, after Smith claimed Labour was "teetering on the edge of a precipice" and could split unless a new leader was put in place.

"Corbyn responded with criticism of Smith for having been one of the shadow cabinet ministers to resign, before 172 Labour MPs passed a no-confidence vote in their leader," The Guardian says.

Smith was "met with groans from Mr Corbyn's supporters when he denied being part of a 'coup' attempt against the leader", the BBC says. At other times, supporters from both camps booed, cheered and heckled as the two men spoke.

On policy matters, the division was equally clear: Smith said he was in favour of a second referendum on EU membership and of renewing Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system. Corbyn opposed both.

Last night's debate was the first of five scheduled before the leadership ballot in September.

Corbyn unveils £500bn plan to 'rebuild' the UK

4 August

Jeremy Corbyn today unveils his £500 billion blueprint to "rebuild" the UK ahead of a Labour leadership showdown with Owen Smith.

In a speech in London, Corbyn will outline ten pledges for a new anti-austerity economic model aimed at creating one million jobs through investment programmes.

The Labour leader is expected to say that Britons "could all be living richer lives in a sustainable, more prosperous and more caring society", the BBC reports.

He will also announce plans for a £250bn national investment bank and considerable investment in the UK's transport and communications infrastructure.

After that, Corbyn will travel to Cardiff for a live debate with Smith in the first hustings of the Labour leadership campaign.

Smith this week laid out his programme of reform, which he said would amount to the "biggest boost to living standards for a generation".

The leadership challenger announced a "triple-lock" to improve the living standards of all workers, including a pensions overhaul, changes to in-work benefits and a higher minimum wage extended to all adults.

In an interview with The Guardian, the Pontypridd MP warned Labour could "bust apart and disappear" if Corbyn is re-elected in September. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused him of trying to "blackmail" the party with his comments.

New YouGov research suggests support for Labour could fall to about 20 per cent if either the right or left of the party splinters away, with the breakaway group performing even worse.

Jeremy Corbyn calls for Southern rail to be renationalised

03 August

Jeremy Corbyn said it was time to put an end to "rip-off Britain" as he called on the government to renationalise Southern rail following weeks of disruptions and "misery" for passengers.

Speaking at a rally in Brighton, the Labour leader said that despite "constant failures", companies continue to make huge profits by "cutting staff, cutting services and raising your ticket prices".

It was time to move forward and the performance of Southern rail made a "very good case" for bringing Britain's railways back into public ownership, he added.

Southern and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are currently engaged in crucial talks aimed at averting a week-long strike in a row over pay.

The rail company has also implemented a reduced timetable ‒ running on almost 60 per cent of its normal service ‒ as it deals with staff shortages.

Customers will be able to claim compensation for trains cancelled in advance or delayed on the day, said the company.

Corbyn told the crowd in Brighton that Labour would "put an end to rip-off Britain" as he repeated his commitment to renationalise each train company as its contract expires, reports iNews.

"We will bring the railways back into public ownership, run for people, not profit," he said.

He added that campaigning for the return of rail services to public ownership and the abolition of the Southern franchise would unite his party. 

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