Sunday 29 December 2019 12:34 pm

Ex-Labour MPs criticise party 'cronyism' and call for sweeping changes

A group of former Labour MPs unseated at the election have accused the party leadership of “cronyism” and that it needs to be fundamentally reformed.

The 12 MPs signed a letter that criticised the party’s response to Labour’s historic election defeat, saying that it needs to go “way beyond a simple review”.

Read more: Tom Watson: Labour brutality and hostility pushed me to step down

The letter, sent to The Observer, said the party needed to look at why Jeremy Corbyn’s “reflexive anti-western worldview” was comprehensively rejected by the electorate.

The letter was signed by Mary Creagh, Emma Reynolds, Anna Turley, Dr Paul Williams, Gerard killen, Martin Whitfield, Mary Wimbury, Sheila Gilmore, Ashley Dalton, Kate Watson and Phil Wilson.

It read: “We were rejected on doorsteps not just because of our woolly, changing position on Brexit, or in Scotland because of our weak commitment to the union, but because the very people we were supposed to be fighting for did not think the policies in our manifesto related to their lives. 

“Sadly, this was particularly true with those most affected by the poverty and injustice that 10 years of Tory government has created.

“Lastly, cronyism at the top of our party and repeated unwillingness to stand up to the stain of antisemitism were constantly relayed back to us on the doorstep, shaming the traditional values of our once great anti-racist party.”

Read more: Labour’s problem is the message and not the London accents

The intervention comes after former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said he left because of the “brutality and hostility” within the party.

Watson criticised Corbyn’s leadership of the party and said he voted for leadership challenger Owen Smith in 2016 ballot.