Labour supporters in Shoreham were left disappointed this afternoon (September 24) after a planned appearance by Jeremy Corbyn was cancelled.
The opposition leader was set to greet party members alongside East Worthing and Shoreham parliamentary candidate Lavinia O’Connor but was forced to rearrange after the sudden recall of parliament.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court ruled Boris Johnson’s proroguing – or recessing – of parliament was unlawful and MPs were recalled to chambers.
Party chairman Ian Lavery took the stage at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Mr Corbyn’s stead and vowed the Labour party, with Lavinia as its representative in Adur and Worthing, would ‘transform society’.
“It will be great to kick Loughton out like a dog in the night,” he said, referring to incumbent Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who has held the position since 1997.
“We need a general election as soon as we can. People in this constituency have had enough of austerity. They’ve had enough of attacks on the most vulnerable, had enough of food banks and poverty. People want to see a fairer, more equal society.
“We’re going to get out there with community campaigning, knocking on doors on the street and explaining the fantastic policies the Labour party can give.
“Lavinia was chosen by the Labour party and the people who voted want her as their representative. She is a fantastic individual, a really first class individual and a great person.”
Mr Lavery reiterated manifesto pledges set out at the ongoing Labour conference in Brighton, such as a £10 living wage, an end to zero hours contracts, 32-hour working weeks and zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Ms O’Connor had earlier been greeted with rapturous applause by a packed house in the Ropetackle, filled with Labour party members.
She too bemoaned the effects of the Tories’ cuts to public services and said financial burdens had led to an increase in people taking their own lives across the country.
She said: “There are people dying on our streets on a daily basis. People are so in debt they feel there is no escape – that’s not a place anybody should be in in 2019.
“Over a quarter of children in this area live in poverty. One quarter are going to school hungry, not being able to afford school uniforms, relying on food banks. I want to end food banks.
“We are on the cusp of a great change in this country. There’s a great divide, but it’s not between people who voted to leave or remain. It’s between the rich and the rest of us.”
The Adur District Councillor, who represents Southlands ward in Shoreham, was chosen as the parliamentary candidate by the local Labour party in September last year.
This morning’s Supreme Court decision meant Jeremy Corbyn brought forward his closing party conference speech, which was planned for tomorrow, to this afternoon, to allow him to return to the House of Commons in the morning.