Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey has rejected Jeremy Corbyn’s claims that the party won the argument at the election and criticised its campaigning efforts.
Corbyn defended Labour’s efforts at the election last month – which delivered the party its worst electoral defeat since 1935 – saying that it “won the argument”.
Long-Bailey, a Corbyn ally and leadership choice for the hard-left faction of the party, broke ranks with her party leader today by saying his assertion was not true.
It comes after the Salford and Eccles MP last week rated Corbyn’s efforts as Labour leader as “10 out of 10”, but denied she is a “continuity Corbyn” candidate.
Speaking to Sky news, Long-Bailey said: “If we had won the argument, we would have won the general election unfortunately and we didn’t.
“We weren’t trusted.”
Despite Labour’s landslide defeat, Long-Bailey has refused to concede there should be a change in policy direction.
She has trumpeted her policy credentials during the early stages of the leadership contest, boasting last week that she didn’t “just agree with the policies, I’ve spent the last four years writing them”.
Today, she blamed Labour’s historic defeat on the way the campaign was run and the party’s inability to sell the manifesto.
The document was considered to be among the most radical in the party’s history and included mass nationalisations, £183bn of government spending each year and banning private schools.
“Our manifesto was not being sold on the doorstop – our messages should have come through on economic competence,” she said.
“On the ground campaign itself, 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 who were at risk of losing their seats.”
Long-Bailey has garnered enough nominations in the leadership contest to make it through to the next round, along with shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips.
Fellow Labour leadership contenders Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis are struggling to get enough MPs and MEPs to support their bid.
Candidates need the support of 22 MPs/MEPs by 2.30pm tomorrow to progress to the next stage of the contest, however Thornberry has just 10 and Lewis four.
Speaking to the BBC today, Thornberry said she was a “tough old bird” and that she shouldn’t be counted out yet.
“It’s a long contest and it’ll have its ups and downs,” she said.
“I’ve been a slow starter, but I did start from a standing start after the General Election.”
Meanwhile, Lewis this morning reiterated his opinion that one of the reasons that he has not got more nominations is because of “structural” racism in society.
Speaking to Sky News, he said; “The question I would turn back on you, is ‘why hasn’t there been a female loeader of the labour party?’
“It’s because we have something called structural sexism…and racism in our society.
“The parliamentary Labour Party are in that society.”