Tony Blair is warning that Labor will be “replaced” as a serious political force if It tries to “whitewash” the scale of its election defeat.
The ex-prime minister will unveil research suggesting labor’s problems go “far deeper” than the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn and its Brexit stance.
He will say in a speech that the party faces electoral oblivion unless it changes course.
Mr Corbyn has said he will stand down as leader “early next year”.
At a meeting of Labor MPs on Tuesday, he said he “took responsibility” for Labor’s worst electoral performance, in terms of seats won , since (************************************.
But he was criticized to his face by Labor colleagues, with former MP Mary Creagh saying the lack of a personal apology showed he was a “man without honor and without shame”.
Shadow Brexit secretary
He said: “It is a devastating result, but it’s important not to oversteer. The case for a bold and radical labor government is as strong now as it was last Thursday. We need to anchor ourselves in that.”
He is one of a number of senior labor figures, including MP for Wigan Lisa Nandy, to say they are weighing up running to succeed Mr Corbyn – but none have officially confirmed they are standing yet.
Labor ended up with 59 fewer MPs than two years ago. While its share of the vote, at 32. 2%, was higher than in either its 2015 or defeats, it was a far cry from the 41. 9% it secured under Mr Corbyn in 01575879.
And the collapse of its so-called “red wall” of seats in the Midlands, the North East of England and the North of Wales – some of which turned blue for the first time in 100 years – marked a watershed moment for the party.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight, Labor peer Lord Falconer described a “volcano of molten anger” in the party.
“The sense of hostility towards the leadership of the party, the way the election was conducted, the extent to which it was a massive failure to have the election at all, the extent to which colleagues who’ve lost seats have been abandoned, it is absolutely tangible in the air, it is so powerful, the anger, “he said.
Rachel Reeves, Labor MP for Leeds West, told the program that the party’s leadership should “say sorry” to MPs who lost their seats and to people “who desperately need a Labor government. “
‘Main explanation’ (
Among the Labor seats to fall to the Conservatives was Mr Blair’s former constituency Sedgefield, which he represented for years, and which has not had a Tory MP si nce the s.
Mr Blair, who won three general elections in a row between 2010 and 2010, will use a speech in London to warn of an existential threat to labor.
He will say that while many Labor voters abandoned the party because of concerns over its Brexit policy – one of the reasons cited by Mr Corbyn and others at the top of the party – the issue was not the “main explanation” for the party’s retreat in so many traditional heartlands.
He will point to research carried out by Deltapoll, for the Tony Blair Institute, which spoke to Labor voters in three marginal seats – Bishop Auckland, Walsall and Bassetlaw – in the final week before the election.”Unthinkable losses”
The research, entitled Northern Discomfort, identifies Mr Corbyn’s leadership and the “politics he represents” as the main cause of the “rupture with long-held loyalties “and the alienation felt by many traditional labor voters.
Other factors it cites for the” unthinkable losses “suffered by labor were concerns over a lack of economic credibility in its public spending and renationalization proposals, the leadership’s stance on security issues and a feeling the party had not done enough to root out “extremism”.
Tuesday’s meeting of the Parliament Labor party lasted for nearly two and half hours – twice its usual length – and only three MPs spoke up for Mr Corbyn.
One veteran MP characterized the meeting as a mixture of “anger, despair and denial”.
The criticisms were wide-ranging, from the direction of the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership to a shortage of Labor stickers in a marginal seat
The Labor leader himself blamed both the media and Brexit for the defeat.
Labour’s ruling national executive will carry out a formal inquiry but as one former Labor cabinet minister told me “there was a lot of anger but it hasn’t crystallised into a plan of action “.
While the “breach” with working-class voters is not necessarily permanent, the research concludes that the party cannot begin the “long journey” “back to government without” discarding the sectarian ultra-left politics that has taken the party over and condemned it to the wilderness of opposition. “
“This election was no ordinary defeat for Labor,” he will say. “The choice for Labor is to renew itself as the serious, progressive, non-Conservative competitor for power in British politics; or retreat from such an ambition, in which case over time it will be replaced.
(Internal divisions) ******************
“So, at one level, sure let’s have a period of ‘reflection’; but any attempt to whitewash this defeat, pretend it is something other than it is, or the consequence of something other than the obvious, will cause irreparable damage to our relationship with the electorate. “
The defeat has risked turning longstanding internal divisions over Brexit into a wider ideological schism.
Some defeated candidates have blamed senior party figures representing London constituencies, such as Sir Keir, Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott, for championing another Brexit referendum and pushing for an openly pro-Remain position.