Labour leadership candidates talk to Peterborough

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The Labour leadership hustings

Sir Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey touched on the NHS, immigration, the media and Boris Johnson in an hour-long event at Holiday Inn Peterborough - West.

Around 100 attendees heard the trio impress the need for the Labour Party to unify after its resounding defeat in the December general election; Starmer said that a defeat in the next election would mean Labour had been out of power for the longest period of time since World War II.

Long-Bailey said that people's low pay and a lack of housing showed that "in Peterborough and many other towns and cities, the reality of our economy is laid bare." 

Lisa Nandy addresses the audience

On the NHS, Nandy called for an overhaul of the way dementia is dealt with, while Starmer called for greater integration of the NHS, social care and mental health services.

The House of Lords was pinpointed as an institution that needs change or even abolition, while the trio also criticised the right wing press' treatment of Jeremy Corbyn - Starmer said that there was a "spiteful purpose" to the coverage, which many Labour leaders have faced in the past.

Starmer said: "It needs to be called out for what it is, but there are two things to consider - we will face it again at the next election, and we have got to win that election if we want to do anything about it."

Nandy emphasised a need for a 'decentralised' approach to the media, and the importance of funding local news organisations, while Long Bailey called for a rebuttal unit for the Labour Party which would deal with any "smears" from the press.

Party members will be able to vote on the leadership from Monday (February 24).