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Labour needs to replace Tristram Hunt with an anti-austerity candidate
The self-proclaimed "furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business" Stoke Central Labour MP Tristram Hunt has decided to further his career elsewhere.
Instead of continuing to work with the Tory-lite right wing inside the Labour Party to undermine the twice elected anti-austerity leader Jeremy Corbyn, he is moving over to a better paid job.
Thousands across the city - both within the Labour Party and among working class people generally - will be glad to see the back of him. In the second Labour leadership election, his own Stoke Central members made this quite clear with 40 voting for Jeremy Corbyn and just four voting for the right-wing's Owen Smith.
Last year on 1st September, when Jeremy Corbyn spoke at a rally in Hanley, over 250 people, mainly Labour Party members, signed Stoke Socialist Party's petition calling for deselection of Blairites. Thousands more local people signed our petition before and after this rally with many naming Tristram Hunt as the main target locally who they wanted deselected.
Many don't like Hunt because he was imposed as a Blairite Labour candidate against the wishes of Stoke Central Labour Party members in 2010. Many see him as an Etonian 'toff' who has nothing in common with ordinary working people here. His infamous remark to Cambridge students: "You're the top 1%. The Labour Party is in the shit. It is your job and your responsibility to take leadership," plainly revealed his contempt for working people in Stoke, who by clear implication shouldn't be influencing Labour!
Others hate him because of his now well-reported crossing of a picket line and refusal to back other workers forced to take strike action.
If Hunt had remained as an MP and reselection was restored to the Labour Party then he would probably have been removed anyway and there is possibly an element of him 'jumping before his ship sinks' in his decision to go now.
Either way, he's going and the Corbyn-fearing media are praying for Labour to be beaten in Stoke-on Trent Central's byelection. But quite the opposite could happen.
Jeremy Corbyn said at the weekend: "The Leave and Trump campaigns succeeded, because they both recognised the system was broken and the people weren't being listened to."
"The people who run Britain have been taking our country for a ride ... They've rigged the economy and business rules to line the pockets of their friends ... Labour under my leadership stands for a complete break with this rigged system".
A byelection campaign that emphasises that promise to change the rigged system, where the richest eight people own more than half the world's population and the voice of working people is never heard, could give a Labour candidate a huge swing and deliver a blow to this weak Tory government.
So it's vital that trades unionists and socialists inside and outside the Labour Party seize this opportunity and campaign to make sure Hunt's replacement campaigns on Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies, including renationalisation of the railways and post office, an end to zero-hour contracts, a £10 an hour minimum wage, free education, a fight against council cuts, repeal of the anti-trade union laws and vitally to save our NHS by getting rid of the privateers and fully funding it.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 20 January 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.