Keir Starmer warning: ‘Corbyn left Labour in tatters – you’re facing a Herculean task’
The Labour Party has been in turmoil following the party’s disastrous showing in December’s general election – its worst result since 1935. The opposition, at the time led by Jeremy Corbyn, made huge spending pledges totalling hundreds of billions of pounds in the hope of swinging voters at a time when the Prime Minister was under huge pressure to get Brexit over the line. But Labour was humiliated after losing several traditional heartlands throughout the country they had held for several decades, and handing the Conservative Party a crucial 80-seat majority in Parliament.
That enabled Mr Johnson to finally push his Brexit deal through the House of Commons, extinguishing Labour’s baffling position on the UK’s departure from the European Union that had turned voters against them.
Mr Corbyn stepped down as Labour leader and was replaced by Sir Keir Starmer last month following a three-month leadership contest.
But the new leader of the opposition already faces a huge uphill battle to repair the huge damage inflicted on Labour under Mr Corbyn, including ridding the party of widespread allegations of anti-Semitism.
John MacDonald, Head of Government Affairs at the Adam Smith Institute, told Express.co.uk Sir Keir won’t be able to “bank on not being the country’s most disliked leader since records began” for too long.
Corbyn has left Labour in tatters. The bar has been set so low that even the Tories breathed a sigh of relief to see a relatively competent debut from Keir Starmer at PMQs
John MacDonald, Adam Smith Institute
He said: “Corbyn has left Labour in tatters. The bar has been set so low that even the Tories breathed a sigh of relief to see a relatively competent debut from Keir Starmer at PMQs.
“Starmer is no doubt more popular than the previous leader. As it stands, this is almost entirely because he is not Jeremy Corbyn.
“This might save Labour from immediate oblivion, but there is only so long he can bank on not being the country’s most disliked leader since records began.”
Mr MacDonald warned Sir Keir he must return to a position of representing the interests of working class people and stamp out excuses that both preceded and followed its general election humiliation.
He said: “Starmer has inherited a party that is more focused on indulging a metropolitan set role-playing as revolutionaries than representing the interests of working people.
“Over decades Labour has become detached from their traditional working class base and increasingly dependent on a narrow, inner-city demographic.
“Starmer is taking up the reins following Labour’s worst election result since 1935. Incredibly, it remains obsessed with the idea that it was robbed of electoral success. First, it was that Brexit outranked otherwise popular policies. Then it was media hostility. Now it is that it was undermined from within by a fifth column of Tory-lites.
“To win support, Starmer must reconcile a party fundamentally at odds with the truth: that it failed to address anti-Semitism allegations, suffered a crushing electoral defeat and is no longer fit for purpose.
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“This will not be accomplished overnight. With the Tories seeing record support from the British public, Starmer’s best option is to aggressively encourage toxic Momentum activists and Corbyn supporters to pursue politics outside of Labour.”
Mr MacDonald also urged Sir Keir to “abandon Corbyn’s failed class politics” and be more supportive of workers and the wider business community, including entrepreneurs.
But he warned even achieving this, the new Labour leader would need to achieve a feat not seen since the leadership of Tony Blair more than 20 years ago.
He added it will even take “Herculean resolve in opposing the Tories” and for the time being, Mr Johnson has little to fear from Labour’s new leader.
Mr MacDonald said: “It is now more important than ever that Labour abandons Corbyn’s failed class politics.
“They must again become comfortable with entrepreneurship, innovation and be supportive of our job-creators.
“The best way to support workers, after all, is to ensure they have access to good, well-paying jobs. That means embracing private sector growth.
“Even if he succeeds in this, Labour will need to win 122 seats to form a majority Government, a feat they have not achieved since Tony Blair.
“It will take, as yet unseen Herculean resolve in opposing the Tories.
“Until he can resuscitate some form of coherent party message and effective opposition, the Tories have little to fear from Her Majesty’s Opposition.”
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