Momentum founder blasts Starmer for 'scapegoating' Angela Rayner

9 May 2021, 12:39

By Joe Cook

Momentum founder Jon Lansman has blasted Sir Keir Starmer for "not taking responsibility" for Labour's election losses and "scapegoating" Angela Rayner, in an exclusive interview with LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday.

The founder of the left-wing campaign group, which heavily supported former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, accused Sir Keir of failing to articulate "a coherent vision for economic transformation".

Mr Lansman called on the party to come together following their poor Super Thursday election results, but slammed the opposition leader for having "failed to honour" his promise "to end factionalism" and "unite the party.

He also made it clear to Tom Swarbrick that he was angry at the decision to sack Angela Rayner as chair of the party.

Labour Party sources briefed that Ms Rayner had been sacked on Saturday night as part of a move to change how the party "runs campaigns in the future" and added: "Keir said he was taking full responsibility for the result of the elections."

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But on Sunday, following extensive criticism of the decision from some in the party, Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murrary told Swarbrick on Sunday that Ms Rayner had not been sacked and instead was actually being offered "a more prominent role" within the party as part of a snap reshuffle.

Mr Lansman was unimpressed, telling LBC: "Do I think [Sir Keir] has honoured his promise to take responsibility for the result? No, he hasn't, he has scapegoated Angela Rayner and sacked her.

"Sacked, you know, the most prominent, working class member of the shadow cabinet at a time where we are seriously lacking in working class MPs.

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"She did not manage the campaign in Hartlepool. It was Keir's office that chose the Remain-supporting candidate that lost.

"They knew that the Brexit Party had 10,000 votes in the last election and we had around a 3,000 majority in the last election. That was not sensible, that was not down to Angela Rayner.

"Keir said he would take responsibility, it is his responsibility that he has not articulated a coherent vision for economic transformation. That is his responsibility, not Angela Rayner. She does not have responsibility for raising that vision and that is the heart of the problem."

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Asked by Tom Swarbrick whether the Labour leader is the right man to take Labour into the next election, Mr Lansman, who is also a former member of the Labour National Executive Committee, responded: "I think it is actually about what the party should do, not just what Keir should do.

"The party needs to unite, the party needs to connect with its working class roots. It needs to use its trade unions - Keir presented himself in the leadership election a year ago as someone who was rooted in supporting trade unions.

"He has not done that since he was elected, he has not developed a vision that will connect with working class voters who voted for Leave."