Fu­ri­ous MPS con­front Cor­byn over elec­tion dis­as­ter

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Harry Yorke and Anna Mikhailova

JEREMY COR­BYN has been told by Labour MPS that the elec­tion de­feat was en­tirely his fault, amid claims that the party will be dam­aged as long as he re­mains as leader.

Dur­ing a meet­ing of Labour MPS and peers last night, Mr Cor­byn faced an on­slaught of crit­i­cism over his per­sonal han­dling of the cam­paign as he ad­dressed his party for the first time since the gen­eral elec­tion re­sult.

Mr Cor­byn was told he was “the big­gest drag” on Labour’s vote and that his sweep­ing spend­ing plans had made the party look “eco­nom­i­cally il­lit­er­ate”.

Jess Phillips, who is ex­pected to stand as Mr Cor­byn’s suc­ces­sor, read out a mes­sage from Me­lanie Onn, who was un­seated in Great Grimsby, say­ing the lead­er­ship did not bother about her north­ern con­stituency.

Cather­ine Mckin­nell, the MP for New­cas­tle upon Tyne North, also chal­lenged Mr Cor­byn over the lack of sup­port pro­vided to col­leagues as she listed the tra­di­tional Labour north­ern seats that had fallen to Boris John­son.

Last night, a prom­i­nent Labour peer claimed MPS had been “over­whelm­ingly crit­i­cal” of Mr Cor­byn, while a former min­is­ter said the meet­ing was filled with “fury and de­spair” but the top ta­ble had seemed in “to­tal de­nial”.

Oth­ers put pres­sure on Mr Cor­byn to sack Seu­mas Milne and Karie Mur­phy, his two most se­nior aides.

One MP de­scribed their con­tin­ued em­ploy­ment as a “ba­sic in­jus­tice”, while an­other ques­tioned the “gen­er­ous sev­er­ance pack­ages” they will be paid should they be asked to step aside.

Mean­while, the race to suc­ceed Mr Cor­byn in­ten­si­fied yes­ter­day, as Sir Keir Starmer con­firmed he was “se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing” run­ning, as he ad­mit­ted Labour had failed to counter the Tories’ pledge to “get Brexit done” or tackle anti-semitism.

In a thinly veiled swiped at Mr Cor­byn, he told The Guardian the party had been dam­aged by “too much fac­tion­al­ism” and must now re­turn to be­ing a “broad church”.

In a speech to­day, Tony Blair, the former prime min­is­ter, will warn Mr

Cor­byn that the “pe­riod of re­flec­tion” he in­tends to hold be­fore stand­ing down will cause “ir­repara­ble dam­age” to Labour if he and his al­lies at­tempt to ab­solve them­selves of blame.

Last night Mr Cor­byn told MPS that Brexit had been a ma­jor fac­tor in his de­feat, while also telling them that they should vote against Mr John­son’s deal when it came to Par­lia­ment.

Crit­ics said he had failed to learn the lessons of the elec­tion. Lord Mann, the former MP for Bas­set­law, said it would show Labour vot­ers who switched to the Con­ser­va­tives that they had “made the right de­ci­sion”.

Mean­while, the race to suc­ceed Mr Cor­byn in­ten­si­fied yes­ter­day, as al­lies of Sir Keir Starmer hit back at at­tempts to dis­credit him as a London-based Re­mainer.

Friends of An­gela Rayner, the shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, also urged her to con­sider stand­ing for the lead­er­ship rather than as deputy to Re­becca Long-bai­ley on a joint ticket.

While Ms Long-bai­ley, the shadow busi­ness sec­re­tary, com­mands the back­ing of prom­i­nent Cor­bynistas in­clud­ing John Mcdon­nell, Ms Rayner is

‘I said you need to spend less time in London be­ing sur­rounded by peo­ple telling you you’re great’

likely to be backed by more MPS and trade union fig­ures.

MPS last night also ex­pressed con­cern that the Labour lead­er­ship might try to in­flu­ence the selec­tion of Mr Cor­byn’s suc­ces­sor, as they were told new mem­bers sign­ing up to vote would have to be vet­ted. Jen­nie Formby, the party’s gen­eral sec­re­tary, was heck­led as she said new mem­bers would need to be in line with “our val­ues”.

Writ­ing in The Daily Tele­graph, Wes Street­ing MP warns against rig­ging the lead­er­ship process to favour “con­ti­nu­ity Cor­bynism” can­di­dates by “ex­clud­ing Labour sup­port­ers”.

Last night Ms Creagh de­scribed Labour’s elec­tion cam­paign as a “dis­as­ter”. She told The Tele­graph: “The man­i­festo was a joke and all the claims about it be­ing prop­erly costed went out the win­dow the mo­ment they pulled out £60bil­lion for the Waspi women.

“I said you need to spend less time in London be­ing sur­rounded by peo­ple telling you you’re great.”

How­ever, Ms Creagh claimed Mr Cor­byn at­tempted to de­flect blame onto the me­dia, and when con­fronted over his han­dling of anti-semitism ac­cused her of go­ing “too far”.

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