Former Labour comms chief hits out at Rebecca Long-Bailey's stance on Corbyn's manifesto

30 December 2019, 11:12 | Updated: 30 December 2019, 14:42

Tony Blair's communications chief hit out at Rebecca Long-Bailey's stance on Jeremy Corbyn's Labour programme after she called it "principled and popular".

Lance Price said it is "almost certain" that Rebecca Long-Bailey will announce that she is standing for Labour party leadership.

"There's no doubt that if she does throw her hat into the ring... that she won't have too much trouble getting the nominations she needs to be on the ballot paper," said Lance Price.

Andrew observed that it could be an all female leadership as Ms Long-Bailey has expressed she'd like Angela Rayner to be her deputy - "a working class, Corbynist joint ticket."

Mr Price shared that the pair are also flatmates when in London; according to Mr Price, while Ms Long-Bailey has "given the nod" to Ms Rayner, she "has not said anything about whether she wants to be deputy leader."

Andrew turned to Ms Long-Bailey's Guardian article where she champions "progressive patriotism" and Mr Price confessed he had "no idea" what that means.

"The problem with what she's got to say is that she seems to think that there was nothing much wrong with the programme that Labour put to the electorate in the general election. Apart from perhaps the lack of patriotism, that people didn't think Jeremy Corbyn was a patriot.

Former Labour comms chief hits out at Rebecca Long-Bailey's stance on Corbyn's manifesto
Former Labour comms chief hits out at Rebecca Long-Bailey's stance on Corbyn's manifesto. Picture: PA

"But she says that it's no good having the right solutions if people don't believe you can deliver them, as if Labour put the right solutions before the people and she says that their transformative agenda was 'principled and popular'. Well it wasn't popular enough to avoid the worst defeat in Labour's history since 1935."

Andrew quoted potential rival leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer who said that Ms Long-Bailey has not mentioned the handling of anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

"No mention of that at all," said Lance Price, "and indeed no mention of the reasons why I think people deserted Labour in the election.

It does seem extraordinary at the end of a weekend when anti-Semitic acts of violence in the United States and graffiti here in London have been in the headlines to put something in to the public domain that makes no mention of it at all."

He continued that he thinks it is "unlikely" enough people will vote for Ms Long-Bailey to put her in power.

"We're a long way from testing that proposition. She's got to get herself elected leader of the party and she will certainly be one of the leading candidates if she puts herself forward, but there is going to be another four or five years" before she can put herself forward as a candidate for Prime Minister if is successful in the party leadership stage.

"The thing about Rebecca Long-Bailey is we know very little about her," he continued, "she's relatively new to the political scene and all we know is that she was kind of anointed by John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn as the anointed successor for their brand of politics.

"That in itself is such a weight of baggage for her to carry that that puts her at a disadvantage in winning over the rest of the country."

There have also been talks that Ian Lavery, the party chairman, may stand for party leader.

Lance Prince said that as he was "responsible for the election campaign", if he won the leadership it would be "rewarding failure." The former director of communication said that he wouldn't take Mr Lavery "seriously as a candidate at all."