What will it take to bring voters back to Labour in East Anglia?

Jeremy Corbyn watches as Owen Smith (right) speaks during a Labour leadership hustings at the Hilton

Jeremy Corbyn watches as Owen Smith (right) speaks during a Labour leadership hustings at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Labour's leadership candidates have both claimed they hold the key to winning back voters in East Anglia, as they said they would be bringing the campaign to the region in the run up to polling day.

Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn have not yet visited Norfolk or Suffolk, instead choosing places such as Salford, Manchester, Newcastle and Milton Keynes as the backdrop to key speeches.

Mr Smith, who said he had invited his rival to debate in him in the East of England, was set to visit Cambridge last Friday, and Mr Corbyn said he would be in Essex on August 24.

'Labour hold too few seats here, so I think I can convince members that my plans to unite the Labour Party, take the fight to the Tories and build a radical government in waiting will help us win in Norwich North, Great Yarmouth and Thurrock, and put our principles into practice,' he said.

Jeremy Corbyn's campaign team said he would be visiting as many towns and communities as possible, including the East of England before the end of the campaign.

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'As party leader, Jeremy has visited the East of England many times, including launching Labour's campaign for the 2016 local elections in Harlow.

'Jeremy Corbyn will be in Essex for a campaign rally on 24 August and an East Anglian tour is planned for later in the campaign,' a spokesman said.

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Among the voters Labour needs to win back in places including Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft are those who backed the UK Independence Party at the last general election.

Mr Smith said that his own constituency, an ex-industrial working class part of south Wales, was exactly the sort of community that has been susceptible to UKIP and other parties.

'They have essentially felt a sense of loss for a long time. The jobs have gone, their place in the world has gone. Ponty was a place where there were 13 pits in a chain works, the longest train station in world, and were a major coal exporter 100 years ago.

'To appeal to those communities once more we need to send a clear message that Labour gets it and that we are on your side, that we come from where you're from, we represent you and we will serve you. That means investing and rebuilding the infrastructure. It means putting money into schools and hospitals and local services, as opposed to cuts. If we had that greater degree of investment then I believe we can reach those people who have turned away from the party.'

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: 'Unlike UKIP's empty gestures, Labour is offering a real alternative to the decades of neglect that have meant too many of our communities have been left behind. We're committed to delivering the investment that will mean rebuilding and transforming the economies of places like Yarmouth and Lowestoft, with high-skilled, secure jobs and secure, affordable housing.'

What do you make of the leadership contest? You can leave your comments below.

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