Owen Smith Labour Party leadership campaign, 2016

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Owen 2016
Owen-Smith logo.jpg
Campaigned for Labour Party leadership election, 2016
Candidate Owen Smith MP
Status Announced: 13 July 2016
Nominated: 20 July 2016
Defeated: 24 September 2016
Headquarters 83 Victoria St, Westminster, London, SW1H 0HW
Key people
Slogan Labour's Future
Website www.owen2016.com

In 2016, Owen Smith, the Member of Parliament for Pontypridd, challenged Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party, triggering an election in the United Kingdom, one year following the previous leadership ballot. His candidacy was announced in a statement on 13 July 2016, in which he declared himself to be a supporter of many of Corbyn's policies but that Corbyn did not possess the qualities necessary to win the next general election.[2] He pledged to prevent the party from splitting and to lead Labour back into government.

Smith initially faced Angela Eagle as a fellow challenger to Jeremy Corbyn, but her withdrawal from the race on 19 July 2016, resulting from Smith's stronger level of support in the Parliamentary Labour Party, left him as the sole candidate facing the incumbent.[3]

Economic policy[edit]

Smith is anti-austerity and an opponent of the Conservative's public spending cuts since 2010. At the launch of his party leadership campaign in July 2016, he described himself as someone who is also "pro-prosperity".[4]

British New Deal[edit]

He has proposed that £200 billion be invested to "rebuild Britain", focused on "building homes, renewing our transport links, schools and hospitals, as well as Sure Start centres, and care for older people".[5] Smith said that doubling the number of homes built would be an important part of these plans.[6]

Employment laws[edit]

In late July 2016, Smith said that, if elected leader of the Labour Party, he would ban zero-hour contracts and end the public sector pay freeze, saying that "The public sector pay freeze cannot continue while the costs – of housing and heating, transport and childcare – continue to rise".[7][8] He said he would also reintroduce Wage Councils for hotel, shop and care workers, most of which were abolished during the 1980s and 1990s. Smith released proposals for policies aimed at improving workers rights such as a repeal of the 'Trade Unions Act' and a commitment to ensure workers' representation on remuneration committees. Smith also proposed replacing the current Department of Work and Pensions with a new 'Ministry for Labour' and a revived Department for Social Security.[9][10]


In an interview with The Guardian in mid July, Smith said that housing – doubling the number of homes built – would be an important part of his platform.[11]


Smith has suggested that income tax rates on the highest paid should be increased, with a top rate of 50%, claiming that recent party policy had been "too timid".[12] He has also promised to reverse cuts in Corporation Tax due to take place up until 2020 whilst reversing the cuts made to Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax in the Summer Budget.[13]

Immigration policy[edit]

Smith has said that Labour must be overtly pro-immigration, even if it means losing votes to UKIP. He said Labour should champion the benefits of immigration such as helping economic growth and staffing public services. Previously Smith had suggested that immigration put pressure on wages.[14]

Foreign policy[edit]

Brexit deal referendum[edit]

On 13 July 2016, and following the vote to leave the EU three weeks previously, Smith pledged that he would press for an early general election or offer a further referendum on the final 'Brexit' deal drawn up by the new Prime Minister, were he to be elected Labour leader.[15] He also said: "I don't think we should accept we're on a definite path out. I think we need to make sure people are satisfied".[12] According to The Guardian, Smith is in favour of a second referendum on "whatever Brexit deal May's team negotiates with the other 27 EU member states",[6] although a BBC report described his position as "Would be 'tempted' to call a second EU referendum."[16]

War Powers Act[edit]

Smith has proposed a new piece of legislation to be brought to Parliament, ensuring that any Prime Minister seeking support for military action must defend that action as a last resort.

Defence policy[edit]

Trident renewal[edit]

When interviewed on the Today programme in July 2016, Smith revealed that he used to be a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and "fundamentally wants the world to be without nuclear bombs."[17] He has described himself as being a "sceptic" of the Trident nuclear programme and as favouring a multilateralist approach to nuclear disarmament (a position he noted as being Bevanite).[18] In the weeks before the 2015 general election, he told a hustings audience that he regretted Ed Miliband's policy to renew Trident, saying: "would but we could get rid of it, but I fear that we can't."[19] In 2016, he stated that he would vote to renew Trident, saying: "I want a world without nuclear weapons altogether, but I don't think we hasten that by divesting."[12] Smith did vote in favour of the government's Trident renewal programme motion on 18 July 2016, as did another 139 Labour MPs, in line with long-standing party policy on at-sea nuclear deterrent.[20]

Party reforms[edit]

Gender balance[edit]

Smith pledged that he would introduce all-female shortlists in target seats at elections, as a means of achieving gender balance in the Parliamentary Labour Party.[21]

Reintroduction of Clause IV[edit]

Smith advocated a further re-edit of 'Clause IV' which advocated the 'fight against inequality' over a return to the original Clause IV.


List of Owen Smith endorsements
Labour Party leaders
Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet ministers
Ministers in devolved governments
Mayors and other municipal leaders
Members of Parliament
Members of European Parliament
Artists and writers
Left wing activists and trade unionists
Newspapers and magazines
Constituency Labour Parties
Trade unions
Socialist societies


  1. ^ Conor Pope (22 July 2016). "Owen Smith snaps up former Corbyn policy chief for leadership bid". LabourList. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  2. ^ Rowena Mason (2016-07-13). "Owen Smith to challenge Corbyn for Labour leadership". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  3. ^ Grice, Andrew (19 July 2016). "Labour leadership election: Angela Eagle pulls out of contest to allow Owen Smith straight run at Jeremy Corbyn". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith outlines his ideas". BBC News. 17 July 2016.
  5. ^ Owen Smith (20 July 2016). "Owen Smith: Let's fight the Tories and show that Labour has a better way". Daily Mirror.
  6. ^ a b Stewart, Heather (20 July 2016). "Owen Smith 'furious' at Corbyn's performance against Theresa May". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  7. ^ Payne, Adam (27 July 2016). "Owen Smith just announced 20 policies he would bring in as prime minister – here are all of them". Business Insider. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  8. ^ Beattie, Jason (27 July 2016). "Owen Smith calls for a workers' revolution and scrapping of zero hours contracts". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Owen Smith is no 'Blairite'. His policies are egalitarian and Left-wing". Left Foot Forward. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  10. ^ "What are Owen Smith's policies in the Labour leadership contest?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  11. ^ Stewart, Heather (20 July 2016). "Owen Smith 'furious' at Corbyn's performance against Theresa May". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "Labour leadership: Labour 'too timid' on tax – Owen Smith". BBC News. 17 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Smith unveils wealth tax as part of 20 policies to tackle inequality". LabourList. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  14. ^ Casalicchio, Emilio (2016-08-31). "Owen Smith: Pro-immigration stance for Labour is worth losing votes to Ukip". PoliticsHome.com. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  15. ^ Anushka Asthana, Heather Stewart (13 July 2016). "Owen Smith to offer referendum on Brexit deal if elected Labour leader". The Guardian.
  16. ^ Wheeler, Brian (21 July 2016). "Profile: The Owen Smith story". BBC News. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  17. ^ "What are Labour leadership contender Owen Smith's politics?". BBC News. 13 July 2016.
  18. ^ George Eaton (9 January 2016). "Owen Smith interview: It would be "an incredible honour and privilege" to be Labour leader". New Statesman.
  19. ^ "Labour wishes it could 'get rid of' Trident: Frontbencher regrets party's commitment to maintaining UK's nuclear deterrent". Daily Mail. 18 April 2015.
  20. ^ Mason, Rowena (18 July 2016). "Commons votes for Trident renewal by majority of 355". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  21. ^ Rowena Mason, Holly Watt, David Pegg (23 July 2016). "Owen Smith to pledge equal representation of women in Labour". The Guardian.
  22. ^ Kezia Dugdale (22 August 2016). "Kezia Dugdale backs Owen Smith as she says he can unite Labour party more than Jeremy Corbyn". Daily Record.
  23. ^ Miliband, Ed (20 July 2016). "Act now. You have til 5pm to register to vote for Owen Smith in Labour leadership election. Share w/friends & family http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/labour-party-leadership-election-2016 …". Twitter. Retrieved 20 July 2016. External link in |title= (help)
  24. ^ Miliband, Ed (20 July 2016). ""Owen can build a Labour Party and a country of which we can be proud" – Miliband's statement backing Smith". LabourList. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  25. ^ a b Asthana, Anushka; Stewart, Heather (2016-07-13). "Owen Smith to offer referendum on Brexit deal if elected Labour leader". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  26. ^ a b c Waugh, Paul (13 July 2016). "Among Owen Smith's public backers today: Kate Green + Heidi Alexander co-chairs of ldrship campaign. Lucy Powell, Chris Bryant,Lou Haigh too". Twitter. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  27. ^ Eaton, George (14 July 2016). "Labour won't split if Jeremy Corbyn wins – the rebels will fight him again". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  28. ^ a b "Slick Whipping Operation For "Oily" Smith". Guido Fawkes. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  29. ^ Dugher, Michael (17 July 2016). ".@OwenSmith_MP: "We can't afford to indulge in sitting back & watching our leader fail". He knows winning matters". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  30. ^ "Kate Green on Twitter: "Candidate must be @OwenSmith_MP. Time for a @UKLabour leader for the future https://t.co/nr1ctzkIlJ"". Twitter.com. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2016-07-16. External link in |title= (help)
  31. ^ Hain, Peter (17 July 2016). "Labour's Owen Smith vows to tackle inequality". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  32. ^ McKinnell, Catherine (17 July 2016). "Tackling inequality will be at the heart of what we do. Watch this to see why I'm backing @OwenSmith_MP for leader". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  33. ^ Phipps, Claire (21 July 2016). "Morning briefing". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  34. ^ Emilio Casalicchio (12 July 2016). "'Nothing to fear' – Lucy Powell argues Jeremy Corbyn can be beaten in leadership battle". PoliticsHome.
  35. ^ "Karl Turner MP on Twitter: "Having spoken with @EastHullCLP officers I shall be supporting @OwenSmith_MP in the leadership contest. #OwenSmith"". Twitter.com. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  36. ^ Wood, Stewart (15 July 2016). "Encouraging to hear @OwenSmith_MP saying it's time for a £200bn investment programme in infrastructure across the UK". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  37. ^ Andrews, Leighton (17 July 2016). "Calm, confident performance by @owensmith2016 @OwenSmith_MP on @MarrShow #laboursfuture". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  38. ^ Dinnen, Carl (20 August 2016). "Sadiq Khan backs Owen Smith, saying Labour is doing badly under Corbyn". ITV News. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  39. ^ a b "Say you're with us >>". www.labour.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  40. ^ "Lyn Brown on Twitter: "Thought @OwenSmith_MP @BBCr4today v.impressive. My politics – anti-austerity prosocial justice apposed Iraq war. Strong candidate."". Twitter.com. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  41. ^ "Karen Buck on Twitter: "Owen Smith hugely impressive on #r4today just now. What we need- the vision+competence to lead a party of the left. https://t.co/2E39MIwEoR"". Twitter.com. 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2016-07-16. External link in |title= (help)
  42. ^ "Jenny Chapman on Twitter: "@OwenSmith_MP saying he wants to unify the party on @BBCr4today. Good, clear, credible leadership, exactly what's needed."". Twitter.com. 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  43. ^ a b "People following Owen 4 Leader (@smith4leader)". Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  44. ^ Efford, Clive (17 July 2016). "#Owen2016 Owen Smith sets out what a real anti-austerity plan is". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  45. ^ Masters, Adrian (17 July 2016). "And another two MPs join @owensmith2016 leadership campaign launch in his Pontypridd constituency: Chris Elmore and Heidi Alexander". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  46. ^ Esterson, Bill (17 July 2016). "Great to hear @owensmith2016 taking the fight to the Tories at the launch of his leadership campaign". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  47. ^ "Mike Gapes on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  48. ^ "Owen Smith "I can be the Next Prime Minister" RT and Follow this account 4 news + campaign updates #LabourLeadership". Owen 4 Leader on Twitter (retweeted by Helen Goodman). 13 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  49. ^ Gwynne, Andrew (17 July 2016). "What @OwenSmith_MP has said about tackling inequality & embedding it in ALL policy is music to my ears. That was my public health idea too!". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  50. ^ Thornton, Jen (17 July 2016). "Great to be at @owensmith2016 launch with friends and colleagues today – time to unite and move forward". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  51. ^ Jones, Gerald (17 July 2016). "Passionate performance from @owensmith2016 today. I'm supporting him to lead @UKLabour from opposition to Government". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  52. ^ Jones, Helen (17 July 2016). "Glad to see the brilliant @OwenSmith_MP launching his leadership campaign today. He is just what @UKLabour needs". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  53. ^ Lucas, Ian (17 July 2016). "I believe @owensmith2016 is the candidate who will beat @jeremycorbyn and build the radical, credible Labour alternative our country needs". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  54. ^ "My Statement on the Labour Leadership Election". Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  55. ^ "Wolverhampton MP Rob Marris backs Owen Smith for Labour leadership". Express & Star. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  56. ^ McInnes, Liz (18 July 2016). "Bringing back Wage Councils and making taxation fairer: Owen Smith reveals radical plans @OwenSmith2016". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  57. ^ Onwurah, Chi (17 July 2016). "Declining wages, job insecurity & recession but miles away from Govt, why @owensmith2016 is standing". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  58. ^ "Matthew Pennycook MP on Twitter: ".@OwenSmith_MP: I'm best placed to heal Labour divisions https://t.co/QEhDb36dff"". Twitter.com. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2016-07-16. External link in |title= (help)
  59. ^ "Having received 100% support from my local party officers this evening, I will stand to be Labour Leader and the next Labour Prime Minister". Owen Smith on Twitter (retweeted by Steve Reed). 13 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  60. ^ "Proud to be @owensmith2016 launch, inspirational speech". Christina Rees on Twitter. 17 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  61. ^ Sherriff, Paula (19 July 2016). "I love my party & so proud of many achievements by @UKLabour but we're not offering real opposition. I've nominated @owensmith2016 as Leader". Twitter. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  62. ^ Slaughter, Andy (17 July 2016). "I will nominate @OwenSmith_MP as Labour Leader. Hugely impressive candidate who can win the leadership, lead the Party and then the country". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  63. ^ Smith, Nick (17 July 2016). "Cracking pic of friends and Ponty supporters for Owen Smith for Leader launch". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  64. ^ Wright, Benjamin (15 July 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn receives Labour leadership blow as Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens says she'll back Owen Smith". Wales Online. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  65. ^ Thomas, Gareth (17 July 2016). "Good stuff from @OwenSmith_MP today. I shall nominate him for Leader of @UKLabour tmrw". Twitter. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  66. ^ "BBC iPlayer – Daily Politics – 14/07/2016". Bbc.co.uk. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  67. ^ "Owen Smith says he'll be a "radical and credible leader" who will "heal" the Labour party http://bit.ly/29D34gs". Mirror Politics on Twitter (retweeted by Anna Turley). 13 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016. External link in |title= (help)
  68. ^ Zeichner, Daniel (19 July 2016). "I've just nominated Owen Smith. We need wide choice on ballot & I'm closest to him on crucial EU issue". Twitter. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  69. ^ a b Rowena Mason (1 August 2016). "Economic advisers to Corbyn back rival for Labour leader". The Guardian.
  70. ^ Richard Murphy (29 July 2016). "Why the Labour leadership campaign is important". Richard Murphy.
  71. ^ "Alastair Campbell: How Owen Smith can save Labour from Corbyn". 2016-07-20. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  72. ^ a b c d Louise Ridley (20 July 2016). "JK Rowling Among Stars Calling For Jeremy Corbyn To Be Removed As Labour Leader". Huffington Post UK.
  73. ^ LBC Breaking (2 August 2016). "LBC Breaking on Twitter: "Former GMB General Secretary Sir Paul Kenny has told LBC he's supporting Owen Smith in the Labour leadership election."". Twitter.com.
  74. ^ a b "Dumfriesshire CLP nominates Owen Smith. This CLP nominates together with Galloway and West Dumfries". CLP Nominations on Twitter. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  75. ^ "Owen Smith is as radical as he is pragmatic – why Community are backing Smith for leader". LabourList. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  76. ^ "MU Executive Committee votes to endorse Owen Smith | Musicians' Union". www.musiciansunion.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  77. ^ "Usdaw nominates Owen Smith for Leader of the Labour Party | USDAW". www.usdaw.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  78. ^ "JewishLabourMovement on Twitter: "After a ballot of our members, we are nominating Owen Smith for Leader of the Labour Party."". Twitter.com. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  79. ^ "The Labour Movement for Europe nominates Owen Smith for Labour Leader". Labour Movement for Europe. 14 August 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  80. ^ Rathfelder, Martin (1 August 2016). "Labour Leadership Poll 2106". Socialist Health Association. Retrieved 1 August 2016.