Labour leadership candidates booed at campaign hustings

Jeremy Corbyn speaks in Stevenage Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

The Labour Party faithful reacted with dismay today at a leadership campaign hustings in Stevenage, when all three of the main candidates refused to condemn Tory welfare reforms.

Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall were all heckled when they avoided criticising plans to reduce the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000.

All three were meanwhile greeted by calls of "shame" as they endorsed a like-for-like replacement of the UK's controversial Trident nuclear deterrent, and rejected unilateral disarmament.

Shadow health secretary Mr Burnham insisted: "As Prime Minister of this country the safety of this country must come first."

Shadow home secretary Mrs Cooper said she would like to see a global reduction in weapons stocks, but "in the absence of that I would renew Trident."

Shadow health minister Ms Kendall added: "Some of you won't like it, but I have got to tell you how it is."

By contrast, left-wing outsider candidate Jeremy Corbyn received warmer responses from the audience as he spelled out his "moral" opposition to renewing Trident and lambasted Tory welfare reforms.

The leadership race is set to last all summer at hustings up and down the country.