Sat, 13 August 2022

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Emily Thornberry attacks Jeremy Corbyn advisers as she steps up Labour leadership bid

Emily Thornberry attacks Jeremy Corbyn advisers as she steps up Labour leadership bid
3 min read

Emily Thornberry has launched a fresh attack on Jeremy Corbyn and his advisers as she stepped up her bid to succeed him as Labour leader.

The frontbencher revealed Mr Corbyn's aides had "chucked in" a £400m election manifesto commitment for the Foreign Office - the department she shadows - against her wishes during the election campaign.

She said the cash would have been better spent on Labour's pledge to boost the number of police officers and nurses.

In an article for the LabourList website, Ms Thornberry also said the heavily-staffed Labour leader's office should be "streamlined" - and takes a swipe at the decision by those close to Mr Corbyn to target party resources at "unwinnable" seats in the run-up to 12 December.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary - the first Labour MP to declare she would be running to be leader - has already she would quit if it became clear that she had no chance of becoming Prime Minister.

On Labour's election manifesto, Ms Thorberry wrote: "To be fair, item-by-item, there’s nothing in [it] that I disagree with. But when you put it all together, it did look like we were promising to deliver the earth, the moon and the stars, and we didn’t need to worry about explaining how we’d pay for all of it, because the Tories were driving a campaign battle bus through their own fiscal rules.

"It’s a small example in the great scheme of things, but I’ve had to continually argue against commitments to increase the Foreign Office budget – not something the Shadow Secretary of State would usually do – because I thought we needed to wait until we were in government, and see what the wider priorities were.

"But even that argument was lost for this manifesto, and a £400m spending commitment was chucked in by Jeremy’s advisers, which – to my mind – would have been far better spent on our pledges to increase the numbers of police officers or nursing staff."

Taking aim at Labour's campaign strategy, she added: "In terms of the deployment of funding and volunteers, I totally agree there were some very odd decisions made during this Brexit election in terms of directing resources towards unwinnable seats, not just in London but throughout the country, while those seats we needed to save felt starved of support.

"There needs to be a serious inquest into why that happened, and why it was allowed to go on for so long, even when the outcome was becoming so glaringly clear."

Elsewhere in the article, Ms Thornberry also criticised Jeremy Corbyn's response to Labour's anti-semitism crisis, and pledged to take a zero tolerance approach if she succeeds him.

She said: "We need to start calling it out from the top and being utterly ruthless in how we deal with it. No indulgence, no excuses, no warnings or training sessions. Just kick them out."

Labour left-winger Clive Lewis has also announced that he plans to run for the leadership, while Becky Long Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Sir Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips are also set to enter the race.

Meanwhile, Dawn Butler and Ian Murray have become the latest to announce that they could stand for the vacant deputy leader post.

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