Rebecca Long-Bailey hints she took cannabis in AmsterdamPosted by On

Rebecca Long-Bailey has hinted that she took cannabis during a trip to Amsterdam as she prepares to formally launch her Labour leadership bid this evening. 

Ms Long-Bailey was asked during an interview with the Politics Joe website if she had ‘ever taken illegal drugs’. 

She replied: ‘Oh. Well, I’ve been to Amsterdam. That’s all I will say.’

The Dutch city is famous around the world for its cannabis cafe culture.  

Her comments came ahead of her campaign launch, with Ms Long-Bailey due to kickstart her bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn at an event this evening. 

She is expected to use her leadership launch to take a swipe at rival Sir Keir Starmer with a vow to end the ‘gentlemen’s club’ at Westminster. 

Ms Long-Bailey cemented her status as the hard-Left’s candidate yesterday when she was endorsed by the Momentum group.

She and Sir Keir currently appear to be the favourites, with shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry – who is also kicking off her campaign today – Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Birmingham Yardley’s Jess Phillips making up the rest of the field.

However, there is a long way to go until the result is declared in April 4.  

Keir Starmer

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey are the favourites in the Labour leadership battle

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry is also launching her leadership bid today

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry is also launching her leadership bid today

The docker’s daughter aiming for Labour’s top job 

Ms Long-Bailey, 40, is the hard-Left daughter of a Salford docker, groomed to take the helm of the Corbynite project by self-declared Marxist John McDonnell.

She grew up in Old Trafford, Manchester, where she was exposed to left-wing politics from a young age.

Her father Jimmy worked as a docker at Salford Quays and trade union representative at Shell at a time when workers’ collectives wielded enormous power and threats of staff walkouts struck fear into ministers.

On graduating from a Catholic high school, she worked in a pawn shop – an eye-opening experience which she says taught her ‘more about the struggles of life than any degree or qualification ever could’.

After holding down other jobs such as a call-centre operator, a furniture factory worker and a postwoman, she eventually studied to become a solicitor.

In a speech in Manchester tonight, Ms Long-Bailey will vow to ‘shake up’ the way government works and put power into the hands of voters.  

Ms Long-Bailey will promise to end the ‘gentlemen’s club of politics’ by devolving power out of Westminster, while pledging to introduce a ‘Green New Deal’ that unites Labour heartlands.

‘Where I grew up, Westminster, even London, felt like a million miles away,’ she will say.

‘The story of the last few years is that many people feel there is something wrong with their laws being drafted hundreds of miles away by a distant and largely unaccountable bureaucratic elite in Brussels.

‘But I’ll be honest, Westminster didn’t feel much closer, and it still doesn’t today.

‘That’s why I want to shake up the way Government works and deliver a clear message to voters: we will put power where it belongs – in your hands.

‘The British state needs a seismic shock, to prise it open at all levels to the people – their knowledge, their skills, their demands.’

Ms Long-Bailey will say ‘proper democracy’ takes power away from the ‘offshore bank account and places it on the ballot paper, so workers can have more and chief executives less, and we can tackle the climate crisis with a Green New Deal that unites all of Labour’s heartlands’.

‘We will end the gentlemen’s club of politics and we will be setting out plans to go further by devolving power out of Westminster to a regional and local level.’ 

As well as her comments on illegal drugs, Ms Long-Bailey was also grilled during her interview with Politics Joe about why she believes she can turn around the fortunes of the Labour Party. 

Asked to give an example of what she had won in the past, she replied: ‘I got a little badge for doing gymnastics when I was little. I remember winning that. 

‘I won the election in Salford and Eccles in the general election despite the devastating defeats that we had seen across the country.’ 

Ms Long-Bailey was asked what her reaction was to the publication of the exit poll on election night which showed the Tories were heading to a crushing victory and she said she was ‘absolutely devastated’. 

‘I was in a state of shock,’ she said. ‘I was in the kitchen of my house with my mum and dad who were going to look after my little boy while me and my husband went to the count later that night and my mum burst into tears and my dad who doesn’t cry was kind of trying not to cry and my mum was saying “that’s it, that’s everyone’s hope gone”.’

Ms Long-Bailey has the backing of the current Labour leadership in the battle to replace Mr Corbyn but she said: ‘I am nobody’s continuity candidate.’ 

She defended Mr Corbyn who has been widely blamed for Labour’s poor performance at the election as she insisted: ‘I don’t think Jeremy could have done any more than he did. He put his all into this.’ 

She also said she would take the fight to Boris Johnson if she becomes leader: ‘I am robust. I am angry. And I will pick a fight with anyone but I don’t think we need to be Machiavellian because I don’t think our voters want us to observe the dark arts.’   

The shadow business secretary scored a significant boost in her quest to lead the party after securing the backing of the Momentum campaign group yesterday. 

Meanwhile, Ms Thornberry will launch her bid in her hometown of Guildford this afternoon, after she narrowly secured the necessary support from MPs to enter the race on Monday. 

She will warn that Labour faces ‘a long, tough road back to power’ after the party suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935.

‘In my 42 years as a member of the Labour Party, there is no fight or campaign our movement has waged where I have not been on the frontline.

The successor to Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in the Commons this week) is due to be announced on April 4

The successor to Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in the Commons this week) is due to be announced on April 4

‘And since coming to Parliament 15 years ago, I’ve also been on the frontline in the fights against climate change, Universal Credit, and anti-abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

‘I’ve led the charge as shadow foreign secretary against Donald Trump and the war in Yemen. And in the two years I shadowed Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, I showed him up every time for the lying, reckless charlatan that he is.’

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner was also endorsed as deputy leader following the confirmatory ballot of Momentum members.

Meanwhile, the party said that around 14,700 people applied to register as temporary Labour supporters to vote in the leadership contest.

The 48-hour window to apply to be a temporary supporter closed at 5pm yesterday, and applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be able to vote in the leader and deputy leader elections. 

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