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Around 250 people gathered at short notice to demonstrate their support for Jeremy Corbyn in Leeds. The demonstration was called by Momentum after discussion with the Socialist Party and others from trade unions and campaigning groups around Leeds. It showed the clear popularity of Corbyn and indeed his electability, despite what those on the right of the Parliamentary Labour Party have argued.

The demonstration listened to speakers from Momentum, youth campaigners and trade unionists. It is regrettable that the Socialist Party was not permitted a speaker at the demonstration despite our support and help initiating it.

People packed a meeting room in the council chambers – not everyone could fit in. So a second meeting was called at a nearby pub. Many also stayed for some time after the demonstration to talk to Socialist Party members about the situation.

The meeting was opened by Councillor Kevin Ritchie, one of a few councillors on Leeds City Council who support Corbyn. Unfortunately Kevin felt that it was not appropriate for members of other organisations to be present or directly involved in the campaign.

But it is only with the broadest and strongest movement from all sections of the labour and trade union movement that we will be able to fully defend Corbyn. For instance, the RMT and the PCS have pledged their full support despite not being officially affiliated to the Labour Party.

Ben Mayor

A further demo was later called in the heart of Hilary Benn’s constituency. 800 people turned out in a determined stand to defend Corbyn and his policies.

Disappointingly, Momentum once again refused to allow Socialist Party members to speak, including one of our members speaking on behalf of Leeds TUC who had recently passed a motion in support of Corbyn.

Immediately afterwards was a demonstration in support of migrants, which was even larger than the pro-Corbyn demo. People who had voted both Leave and Remain in the EU referendum gathered to say refugees are welcome in Leeds and to condemn the racist scapegoating that many politicians are guilty of.

Tanis Belsham-Wray & Iain Dalton