Rebecca Long-Bailey makes Labour leadership pitch after 'nightmare' election

30 December 2019, 06:58

Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed she is considering running to be Labour leader
Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed she is considering running to be Labour leader. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed she is considering running to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party after a "nightmare" election result for the party.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper the shadow business secretary hit out at Mr Corbyn's stance on Brexit and the party's stance on membership of the EU.

"We didn't lose because of our commitment to scrap universal credit, invest in public services or abolish tuition fees," the Salford and Eccles MP said.

Describing the election result as a "nightmare," Mrs Long-Bailey said it was "our duty to make sure that doesn’t happen again."

In her first comments since Labour's general election thrashing, she said Labour’s “compromise solution” on Brexit was partly to blame, but that trust from voters was also an issue.

Two candidates for the leadership, Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis have already declared they are standing and at least five more MPs have used interviews in the last fortnight to say they may join the race.

Breaking her silence, Mrs Long-Bailey said: "Over the next few months, we must have an honest discussion about why we lost and how we can win.

"Strategies designed in Westminster were partly to blame, but it’s also true that Labour’s support has been falling in many communities for a decade or more. We must rebuild trust, not only in our party but in the idea that change really is possible."

She claimed Labour "can win again" but said the party must first "come together", as she gave her backing to shadow education secretary Angela Rayner for the role of deputy leader.

"We are strongest when we stand together as a pluralist Labour family. That is why I'm not only considering standing to be leader, but also supporting Angela Rayner as deputy," she wrote.

"Leadership means leading a team, working with every part of our movement and using all our party's talents to fight the Conservatives at every turn and map Labour's route back to power. Millions woke up to a nightmare on December 13. It's our duty to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Mrs Long-Bailey has been a close supporter of Jeremy Corbyn
Mrs Long-Bailey has been a close supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA

Ms Long-Bailey is widely viewed to be the favourite among Corbyn supporters, and frequently defended the party's policies on the airwaves during the election campaign.

However, in comments which will be seen as an attempt to differentiate herself from the Labour leader, she wrote: "From ex-miners in Blythe Valley to migrant cleaners in Brixton, from small businesses in Stoke-on-Trent to the self-employed in Salford, we have to unite our communities.

"Britain has a long history of patriotism rooted in working life, built upon unity and pride in the common interests and shared life of everyone.

"To win we must revive this progressive patriotism and solidarity in a form fit for modern Britain."

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery is also reportedly considering a bid, with a spokesman telling the Daily Mirror he was "seriously considering all of his options at present".