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Owen Jones pledges to take down Teesside’s only Tory MP

Owen Jones pledges to take down Teesside’s only Tory MP

Author and journalist Owen Jones promised to unseat former Simon Clarke, who he went to Oxford University with :: Tory MP says ‘bring it on’

Author and journalist Owen Jones promised to unseat former Simon Clarke, who he went to Oxford University with :: Tory MP says ‘bring it on’

A left-wing Guardian columnist has pledged to unseat Teesside’s only Tory MP as part of efforts to install Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.

Owen Jones and leftist campaign group Momentum are aiming to overturn Simon Clarke’s slim majority in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.

But Mr Clarke has defiantly told Labour activists: “Bring it on – and don’t forget to bring a map.”

Led by Mr Jones, Momentum plans to descend on the marginal to hand Labour the keys to No 10.

Announcing the plan to fans on Facebook Live, the prominent author and Guardian journalist said: “We’re taking that seat back – sorry Simon Clarke”

And for the Oxford-educated commentator, it’s personal – as he looks to take on his former university colleague.

Owen Jones
Owen Jones (Image: @TarkId=1592842)

Mr Jones said: “We’re coming to the North-east. To be fair, there are already quite a lot of Labour seats there, but there is some we need to win.

“Middlesbrough – ah Middlesbrough South. I want to go to Middlesbrough South because I know the MP there – Simon Clarke.

“I went to university with him. He was part of a quite unpleasant Tory crew.

“So I will be there in Middlesbrough South. We have all got to go, all over the country.”

Mr Clarke, a former policy advisor, took Middlesbrough South from Labour in June after sitting MP Tom Blenkinsop decided not to stand again.

He beat Middlesbrough councillor Tracy Harvey by just 1,020 votes.

Mr Clarke said: “I now hear Owen Jones is coming up to our area from London to try to win it for Jeremy Corbyn.

“I know Owen from years ago, when I was elected student president of our shared college at Oxford.

“He was obsessed with hard left politics then and he’s obsessed with them now – he’ll never stop being a student politician.”

He added: “I say to Owen: bring it on, and don’t forget to bring a map.

“It’s the takeover of the once great Labour Party by people like him that means so many people on Teesside have switched their support to the real party for working people.

“During the election, I lost count of how many people told me ‘I’ve always voted Labour but just can’t do so anymore.’

The action day would come as part of a series of ‘unseat’ events focused on marginal seats.Activists have so far held events in seats held by a number of high-profile Conservatives, including Boris Johnson, Justine Greening and Iain Duncan Smith.

Mr Jones said they are “working” on a date for the Middlesbrough campaign session.

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