Starmer 'won't fix Labour's lingering toxicity in a few months', ex-party adviser says

13 May 2021, 11:58

By Tim Dodd

There is a 'lingering toxicity' to Labour's recent years which people haven't forgotten, says Former Labour adviser Paul Richards.

Mr Richards told Nick Ferrari: "Around the world, left-wing parties are in the doldrums. There are one or two bright sparks, but where they have been successful it is because they have reached beyond their comfort zones.

"They have reached into the centre-ground, they have reached new voters who don't obey the tribal loyalties that their communities or families did 30 years ago, and have embraced the big issues facing us like automation, science and technology, the pandemic, and climate change.

"And if you can do all of those things, [Tony Blair's] argument is then why can't you win? There's no law that says conservatives have to win forever. Nor is there a law that says Labour parties must exist - so that's the challenge."

Mr Richards was referring to comments made by Tony Blair that "woke left" Labour could cease to exist unless it undergoes a "total deconstruction and reconstruction".

READ MORE: Hartlepool voter explains to James O'Brien why Tories took 'iconic' Labour seat

Nick then asked: "So why the kicking in Hartlepool then do you suppose?" referring to the recent by-election which saw the Tories take the seat which had been held by Labour for almost 50 years.

"This is where we perhaps pick up some of the comments of Jeremy Corbyn," Mr Richards said.

"I think there's still a lingering toxicity around the last five years of Labour which people haven't forgotten. They're not going to forgive and forget after a few months.

"And those Brexit voters in 2019 in Hartlepool did not come back to Labour, a lot of them stayed at home or went over to the Tories. So those are the people we need to really think about winning back in those kind of seats.

"You're not going to fix it in a 12 month period. Keir Starmer - whatever he would've done, no matter how different or plausible he is - it's a long term project now. It could be 10 years I would say."