Labour leadership: Thornberry gives Corbyn a 'zero' for election performance

9 January 2020, 14:23 | Updated: 9 January 2020, 19:28

Labour leadership hopeful Emily Thornberry has said she would give Jeremy Corbyn a 10/10 for "firing up the party", but a zero for his election performance.

Mr Corbyn led Labour to its worst performance in terms of number of seats since the 1930s last month, with the party losing more than 50 MPs.

He will step down as leader later this year, with a crowded field vying to replace him.

Corbyn ally Rebecca Long-Bailey is one of those standing.

The shadow business secretary had raised eyebrows in some quarters when she said in an interview earlier this week that she would give Mr Corbyn's leadership a "10 out of 10".

Asked to give her rating, Ms Thornberry was far less effusive.

The shadow foreign secretary said: "I remain convinced that Jeremy is not antisemitic, but clearly we completely failed when it came to dealing with antisemitism in the party.

"That was a failure of leadership and Jeremy knows my views on this.

"I'm afraid I would not give him more than two out of 10 in relation to that.

"But when it comes to principle, bringing the people into the party, firing up the party, bringing us back to speaking from our hearts, I'd give him 10 out of 10.

"Losing an election is probably the most important thing by which you would measure a leader and obviously we lost very, very badly.

"On that basis, I would give him on that a 0 out of 10. What else could I do?"

As well as Ms Thornberry and Ms Long-Bailey, the other candidates are Sir Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy and Clive Lewis.

Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner is also considering entering the race.

Nominations close on Monday, with the winner announced in early April.

Sir Keir is seen as the early frontrunner and has the most nominations from MPs and MEPs.

He has said Labour can "forge a path to victory" at the next election, provided it sets aside divisions and "factionalism".

Sir Keir was speaking during a visit to the headquarters of Unison, which backed his candidacy on Wednesday.

He said: "I do believe that we can be an effective opposition, that we can take the challenge to Boris Johnson, that we can restore trust in our party. But we can only do that if we unite, if we put factionalism on one side.

"Divided parties don't win elections, united parties win elections.

"I want to be able to pull our party together so we are all in one team batting together.

"We have lost four elections in a row.

"If you lose an election you are in opposition, if you are in opposition you are not changing lives. So we have got to focus on forging that path to victory.

"You do that not by trashing the last Labour government, not by trashing everything that has happened since 2015, but by focusing relentlessly on the future."

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Meanwhile, Mr Lewis has said there would be "no question" of Labour opposing a second Scottish independence referendum.

The MP for Norwich South said it was not for him as an English MP to "dictate to Scotland".

By contrast, Ms Phillips outlined her opposition to a second independence referendum on Twitter.

She said there was "no circumstance" in which she would think it would be better for Scotland to leave the UK.