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Sun, 29 March 2020

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By Hft
By Dods General Election Hub 2019

David Lammy mulls Labour leadership bid with call for 'civic nationalism' to beat Boris Johnson

David Lammy mulls Labour leadership bid with call for 'civic nationalism' to beat Boris Johnson
3 min read

Labour MP David Lammy has revealed he is considering a run at his party's leadership as he vowed to challenge Boris Johnson with "civic nationalism".


The Tottenham MP said he would make a decision over Christmas whether to run to be the party's first BAME leader as he vowed to challenge Boris Johnson's "ethnic, populist nationalism".

Writing in the Observer, Mr Lammy spoke of his "disappointment" on polling night as he accused the Prime Minister of "scapegoating" migrants and making a "Faustian pact" with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage during the election.

"Johnson’s ethnic nationalism relies on the idea of the nation as the natural home of a people whose ancestors are all from one ethnic group," he said. 

"History suggests that once ethnic nationalism is introduced into a nation’s politics it is difficult to remove and even more difficult to control."

He added: "The alternative to Boris Johnson's ethnic nationalism that Labour should offer is civic nationalism. Rather than basing national pride on biological heritage, skin colour or religion, civic nationalism says that we can be united around shared values and institutions.

"To foster this, we need to construct new spaces and place in which the UK's diverse peoples can engage with each other and belong."

And Mr Lammy said he would seek to implement his plans through a series of radical constitional reforms, including a codified constitution, a new British bill of rights, and an overhaul of the UK's voting system.

Meanwhile, the London MP hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his role in the party's disastrous election campaign which saw them lose 59 MPs across the country.

"The leadership's failure to deal with the stain of antisemitism within the party stripped Labour of moral authority," he said.

"Jeremy's triangulation on Brexit left Leavers thinking he was a Remainer and convinced Remainers he supported Leave. 

"His well-reported hostility to institutions such as Nato cemented the public's distrust."

He added: "It was not Jeremy's righteous belief in economic justice that lost Labour this election. It was his perceived worldview, failure of competence, and mind-boggling decision to abdicate leadership on the biggest issue of the day [Brexit]."

Elsewhere, fellow London MP Rosena Allin-Khan is also considering running for deputy leadership of the party, claiming she could stop "Labour's lifeblood draining away".

Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Tooting MP said she would also take the festive period to decide whether to stand, but claimed she could bring a "fresh, non-tribal approach" to the role, which is also expected to be contested by Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner and fellow frontbencher Dawn Butler.

Ms Allin-Khan said she was considering the bid after feeling an "actual physical pain" over the party's disastrous election outcome.

She added: "The role of a deputy is not to be a leader-in-waiting. The role would be to work very much with the grassroots, and to feed in to the leader."

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