Furious MPS confront Corbyn over election disaster
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”.