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Tue, 27 October 2020

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Rebecca Long-Bailey rejects Jeremy Corbyn's claim Labour 'won the argument' at election

Rebecca Long-Bailey rejects Jeremy Corbyn's claim Labour 'won the argument' at election
3 min read

Rebecca Long-Bailey has rejected Jeremy Corbyn's claim that Labour "won the argument" despite losing the general election.


The Labour leadership hopeful gave a stinging post-mortem of her party's election performance as she claimed a poor ground campaign and failure to win voters' trust on the economy had led them to an historic defeat.

It comes after Mr Corbyn claimed the party under his leadership had "won the arguments" on a host of issues including austerity, inequality and climate change as he apologised for its defeat.

But asked by Sky's Sophy Ridge if she agreed with the analysis, Ms Long-Bailey said: "Not at all. We didn't win the argument.

"If we'd won the argument we would have won the general election, and unfortunately we didn't."

She added: "We just weren't trusted. And that goes for the message we put forward in our campaign which didn't bring together all the positive aspects of our manifesto. We weren't trusted on Brexit. 

"We weren't trusted to deal with anti-semitism within our own party. Key issues, and you've got to earn trust, it doesn't just happen overnight, unfortunately."

The Shadow Business Secretary, who recently secured the backing of influential left-wing campaign group Momentum, also hit out at the party's election strategy which she sad had seen traditional Labour heartlands left undefended while activists were ordered to campaign in seats with high-profile Tory targets.

"We had reports of members being sent to seats that we had no hope of winning when we should have been in constituencies trying to protect MPs at risk of losing their seats," she said.

"There were a number of areas where we hadn't done enough work in convincing voters of our credibility on those areas. There were certianly policies that we part of a longer-term programme. 

"They were the right answers to the right questions, but perhaps for the manifesto they should have been left for the longer term goal."

Meanwhile, Ms Long-Bailey also vowed to work "very hard and very robustly" to rebuild trust with Jewish voters after the party was heavily criticised for its handling of anti-semitism complaints.

The Salford and Eccles MP said she would "straight away" adopt a set of new pledges compiled by the Board of Deputies of British Jews which urge Labour to resolve outstanding cases, increase transparency in the complaints process, and prevent the readmittance of repeat offenders.

She added: "I was absolutely devastated, as many of our members were, to knock on doors of Jewish community members who said they just did not trust the Labour Party any more, and we do need to work hard to rebuild that trust. 

"But that requires action, it requires making sure we implement any recommendations the EHRC come back with... and it means adopting the recommendations that the Board of Deputies have put forward.

"I wasn't happy with how our process was being run, to be honest. I don't think we were dealing with complaints quickly enough, and I think that was quite clear, been quite vocal about that. 

"I also feel there should have been a level of independence to the allegations and the way they were investigated... that is in terms of all complaints, racism, abuse, sexual misconduct."

'ANNOYED' BY 'CONTINUITY CORBYN'

Ms Long-Bailey also used the appearance to dismiss suggestions she was the "continuity Corbyn" candidate, saying the comparison "annoyed" her after years developling her own policies as part of Labour's top team.

But the leadership hopeful said she was still committed to Labour's plans to abolish the House of Lords, as she said her campaign would release further plans to "shake up" the constitution.

She added: "There would need to be checks and balances in place, but to have a set of completely unelected people doing that I don't think is right."

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