Owen Jones, Guardian columnist and author, joined Oliver Coppard, Labour PPC, on the campaign trail...

Owen Jones, Guardian columnist and author, joined Oliver Coppard, Labour PPC, on the campaign trail in Sheffield Hallam this week.

Around three hundred Labour campaigners came to Crookes Social club on Sunday April 26 to support them.

Jones, greeting the crowd, said: “Wow Sheffield, you were never going to disappoint, let’s be honest.”
He then gave a brief speech before the crowd split into groups to campaign around the constituency.

Activists from the political group Class War protested outside Crookes Social Club on Jones’ arrival and accused him of not being left wing enough.

In response, Jones said: “I prefer to argue with a Labour government than fight a Conservative government.”

Jones has visited several constituencies around the UK in the run up to the general election, including a recent stop in South Thanet to support the Labour Candidate Will Scobie, who is opposing Ukip’s Nigel Farage.

Also this week, former-Conservative candidate John Harthman came out in support of Nick Clegg. In an open letter to Sheffield Hallam constituents, Harthman encouraged Conservative supporters to vote Liberal Democrat on May 7th in order to “make sure that Ed Miliband’s Labour candidate doesn’t sneak in through the back door”.

The latest Lord Ashcroft poll showed Nick Clegg could lose his seat. Clegg has since accepted donations of £50,000 from mid-March.

Jones reinforced the student focus, commenting on how there is an increased lack of trust in politics amongst young people.

He stated that the people of Hallam, and elsewhere in Britain need “a sense that politics can transform their lives.” He went on to say: “that’s what we’re doing today, we’re sending a message of hope.”

Jones later took part in a question and answer session, on issues such as Scotland, the media’s impact on public opinion and voting reform.

Oliver Coppard gave a comment at the end of the campaign day: “I’m really pleased that we have the support of people like Owen Jones.  As Owen said, around here it’s really important that people turn out and vote labour because it’s the only way we’re going to get a progressive government that will deal with all the problems we face as a society, from housing, to climate change, to inequality.”

Eight candidates are battling it out for the Sheffield Hallam constituency, which will be decided on May 7.

Photo: Robin Wilde

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