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Tuesday 17 January 2017

Labour Party chalks up rare win with Labradoodle named Clinton

Published 08/09/2016 | 13:11

MPs take part in the Westminster Dog of the Year Competition 2016, organised jointly by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust at Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, London.
MPs take part in the Westminster Dog of the Year Competition 2016, organised jointly by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust at Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, London.

Labour MPs have taken heart from a rare victory - in the Westminster Dog Of The Year awards.

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Labradoodles Clinton and Kennedy picked up the top gong for Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who remarked: "It's about time we won something."

The eight-year-old bitches beat off competition from a dog named after a Pokemon and a host of other MPs' hounds to be crowned only the second Labour winners in nine years.

Mr Reynolds said he was "absolutely delighted", adding: "I speak for everyone in the Labour Party when I say it's about time we won something, so we might as well accept this.

"I'm very happy indeed."

Mr Reynolds joked that the victory could prove a good omen for Hillary Clinton, who is battling Donald Trump for the United States presidency.

"They're obviously named after presidents (John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton)," the MP said.

"My wife says they could also be the first ladies - they could be Jackie Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, but there's now a crossover there - maybe that's a sign."

Mr Reynolds earlier revealed he was taking inspiration for the competition from an unexpected source - rapper Snoop Dogg's seminal G-funk hit Gin and Juice.

Alongside a photo of his pets on Westminster bridge, he tweeted: "'With so much drama in the PLP (parliamentary Labour party), It's kinda hard bein Snoop D-O-double-G".

Mr Reynolds won the judges' award after the 18 entrants showed off their dogs' skills on an obstacle course featuring hurdles and a tunnel, which Tory MP Craig Mackinlay felt obliged to crawl into to offer some tips to his Labrador Libby.

Elsewhere Tories Antoinette Sandbach and Anne-Marie Trevelyan put their dogs Inca and Trouble through a gruelling high jump competition.

Labour MP Diana Johnson admitted a victory at the dog show, organised by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust, could provide a rare tonic for the party's MPs, many of whom are attempting to oust Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

Before the gongs were handed out, she showed off eight-year-old chocolate Labrador Ernie, who is looking for a home, adding: "It'd be great (to win), Labour needs to win something so if Ernie, a great Labour name, if he can win that would be fabulous.

"We live in interesting times so coming to the Westminster dog show is a really nice thing to do."

While some pro-EU MPs may have seen the show as a nice distraction from Brexit, Tory MP Nigel Adams revealed his 20-month-old Labradoodle was already a hardened Eurosceptic.

He said of Eevee, named by his children after the Pokemon: "She came out very early for Leave, I was very pleased with her approach to it, very decisive.

"There was no sort of flirting with Brexit, she was straight in there, even put it on her Facebook page.

"She stayed up to watch the result and she was very excited.

"But she will still continue to travel to Europe, she's not ruling out visiting European countries but she's delighted."

The winner of the online public vote was Staffordshire Bull Terrier and mascot for the Staffordshire Regimental Association, Sgt Watchman V, who was represented by six local MPs.

Press Association

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