Labour council leader: Chances of winning general election are 'next to none'

Posted On: 
6th May 2016

Labour's chances of winning the next general election are "next to none", one of the party's senior councillors has claimed.

Crawley council leader Peter Lamb has offered a gloomy assessment of Labour's 2020 chances
PA Images

Peter Lamb, the leader of Crawley Borough Council, also said the political operation around Jeremy Corbyn was a "shambles".

Labour has so far lost 28 council seats in England, and slumped to third place in Scotland.

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Mr Lamb told PoliticsHome Labour  was moving “backwards” four years out from the next general election.

“In terms of being able to judge the party’s progress, you can win a local election and not win national government but if you’re losing local elections, the chances of winning a national election are next to none, frankly," he said.

"So the party clearly has a big challenge there. Does it have to gain 400 seats? Well no, not necessarily but if you’re moving backwards, I think that’s a problem.”

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson today warned internal critics it would be “unfair and improper” to pin the party’s performance in yesterday’s elections on the Labour leader.

But Mr Lamb said: "I don’t think it’s unfair, it’s just that people’s overwhelming desire in the party is to be back in a position to look out for people and if we are not on that course, we should be concerned about that."

In a direct swipe at Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Lamb said: "He needs people who he rely on to push his messaging, he needs people who are actually able to deliver on that. But at the moment, we come across as a shambles a lot of the time and on the local level, I wouldn’t tolerate that from my organisation here and I don’t understand why on a local level, it’s being tolerated by people who frankly are being made serious amounts of money to do the jobs that they’re doing."

He added: "Frankly, every local councillor that I have spoken to, it’s only the ones who have performed better than anticipated today, did so in the very, very local messaging. None of us ran with any national messaging, and that’s because the team of people around the leader are simply not up to the job of delivering what he wants.”