Former Labour candidate insists the party must keep their "socialist" values and manifesto

30 December 2019, 17:43 | Updated: 30 December 2019, 18:01

Shelagh Fogarty challenged former Labour parliamentary candidate over why he thinks the party "should not water down" their manifesto and "socialist values".

Mr Aylett said he is backing Rebecca Long-Bailey to be Labour leader because she can "build on the manifesto" and will "democratise the Labour party".

He said the Labour leadership debate will be about two things; "whether the message changes or whether we change the way we communicate the message we currently have." The former parliamentary candidate said that he believes the message is still popular so they should should focus on communication.

Shelagh countered that there is still a question as to how Labour will fund their messages and pledges and while individual policies may be popular, the public have to look at the wider "offer" of the party, including the tone of the leadership and party cohesion.

"Like him or loathe him, what Boris Johnson did was clear out those people who were holding him back," she said, "the reality of the Labour party and this unity that Rebecca Long-Bailey says rightly that is required to win, it just isn't there. There's no sign of it."

When Mr Aylett said the Labour leadership race hadn't begun, Shelagh pointed out that the party know who Rebecca Long-Bailey is, that she has been anointed by Jeremy Corbyn and Andy McDonnell and that they have just experienced a "shocking defeat."

George Aylett said the party should not water down Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto
George Aylett said the party should not water down Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto. Picture: PA

Mr Aylett insisted that Labour were right to pursue their policies and Rebecca Long-Bailey could communicate the manifesto to the public in an effective way.

Shelagh said, "When you say that, George, do you know what I hear? I hear the electorate was wrong. It comes across as you saying the electorate didn't get us. Arguably you didn't get the electorate, maybe that's the truth."

Mr Aylett said the party is not blaming the electorate but he is saying they should not give up their socialist values.

"If all of the evidence suggests that Britain isn't socialist, what then?" asked Shelagh and said the party have tried to win over the people on a number of occasions without success.

"The British electorate said no to David Milliband, no to Michael Foot, it's said no to a particular type of socialism on a number of occasions. What is it you're still waiting for them to tell you?"

He said the policies weren't socialism and Shelagh asked, "Do you think the answer is going further to the left?"

"Yeah, I do feel that we need to build on the manifesto and not water it down," he said. Shelagh countered that the country have voted for a Conservative government with an 80 seat majority, and his answer is to go further to the left?

"We still need to be supporting our values," he insisted, and lamented that he wishes the Labour party had been consistent with their Brexit message.