Labour have announced their candidate for the Stoke on Trent by-election as long time party member Dippy the Dinosaur. The by-election was triggered after the sitting Labour MP Tristram Hunt quit to become director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and could now result in a swapping of roles, with Dippy moving from the Natural History Museum across the road from the V&A to the House of Commons, while Hunt does almost the exact opposite, moving from the Commons to the V&A.
The move is seen by many as an attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to bolster his grip on the Labour party by surrounding himself with even more relics of the past and other like-minded Labour people, such as dinosaurs. Critics have accused the Labour leader of nepotism, saying he is simply furthering the careers of those who share his world view, while others say having a dinosaur in the party will at least freshen up ideas in the shadow cabinet.
If elected, the plaster-cast replica would almost certainly be fast tracked to a senior role in Corbyn’s inner circle, possibly replacing the increasingly static Diane Abbot as Shadow Home Secretary. Although Dippy has never held elected office and has little political experience, this is not seen as a handicap for a role in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.
Corbyn said he was confident that Dippy would hold on to the Stoke Central seat for Labour, adding that the diplodocus had a wealth of experience when dealing with the public. ‘Dippy has stood in the same place unopposed since 1979, which is something the Labour party fighting a by-election could do with right now,’ he said.
‘Dippy will not look out of place on Labour’s front bench, especially if we sit him next to Tom Watson. And with Dennis Skinner still to retire, Dippy won’t even be oldest MP in the party. Really, the only issue is whether the House of Commons canteen will be able to cope with him and Eric Pickles having lunch at the same time.’