Labour politicians in Aylesbury Vale have spoken out over who they want to see lead the party.
Veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn is now favourite to win the leadership contest – and he is being backed by Labour’s Aylesbury parliamentary candidate, Will Cass, and Buckingham district and county councillor Robin Stuchbury.
However, Southcourt district councillor Mark Bateman is throwing his support behind Andy Burnham.
Membership of Aylesbury’s Labour party has doubled since the general election and there are more than 500 people here who are registered to vote in the contest.
Mr Cass, who took Labour up to third in May’s general election and sits on the party’s south-east regional board, said Mr Corbyn ‘gives straight answers to straight questions’.
“He is a clear alternative to the comfortable consensus politics at Westminster. He has managed to mobilise people who were apparently uninterested in politics. He is a breath of fresh air.”
Mr Cass added that Mr Corbyn has the best chance of reshaping the ‘terms of the debate in Britain’.
Mr Stuchbury said Mr Corbyn has acted with ‘complete integrity’ during the contest.
“The important thing is to offer an opposition to the government.
“We need to look at completely different ways of doing things. The capitalist system failed in 2008, we need a new form of capitalism which includes opportunities for everyone to succeed.
“He could win in 2020.”
Mr Bateman said he was backing Andy Burnham.
“I’m not terribly interested in left, right and centre. I’m interested in how we’re going to approach the economy, transport, housing and social issues.”
He said former cabinet minister Mr Burnham has got ‘experience of responsibility and leadership’ which he said would be needed to bring different elements in the party together.
“A lot of his ideas are not too different from Mr Corbyn’s to be honest, he just says them in a slightly more electorate-friendly way and that I think is quite important.”
Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who lives in Wotton Underwood, has warned the party faces electoral ‘annihilation’ if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader.
A total of 8,391 people voted Labour in Aylesbury in May.