Defeated Labour MPs pen letter demanding 'fundamental change' in the party

29 December 2019, 14:22

Jeremy Corbyn remains in his job despite Labour's losses
Jeremy Corbyn remains in his job despite Labour's losses. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A group of Labour MPs who lost their seats in the general election have said that the party needs "fundamental change" if they are to win in the future.

They said "cronyism" in the party is a huge problem, as well as Labour's "unwillingness" to stand up to anti-semitism.

In a letter to the Observer, the group said that these issues were repeatedly raised on the doorstep during campaigning.

They also called for an "unflinching" look at the reasons behind Labour's defeat and warned that a "simple review" is not enough.

It comes after the party's biggest election defeat since 1935, with a string of traditionally Labour northern constituencies being taken by the Conservatives.

A panel has already been established to look into Labour's election failure.

Mary Creagh and Anna Turley
Mary Creagh and Anna Turley. Picture: PA

In the letter, defeated MPs including Mary Creagh and Anna Turley wrote: "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.

"The focus on nationalisation and uncontrolled spending commitments meant people simply didn't believe us.

"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 anti-Semitism were constantly relayed back to us on the doorstep, shaming the traditional values of our once great anti-racist party."

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will step down as Labour leader "early next year".

So far Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis have thrown their hat into the ring to be leader, with others including Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey expected to join them.