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CORBYN HAS BECOME A HOPELESS CASE

Labour on brink: How Robert Peston predicted Corbyn’s downfall for one key reason

LABOUR’s doomed general election campaign in 2019, which saw its ‘Red Wall’ crumble, could have been down to one key flaw in his preparations, journalist Robert Peston once gloomily predicted.

PUBLISHED: 12:10, Fri, Mar 20, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:15, Fri, Mar 20, 2020

 

Writing for ITV on June 18, Mr Peston claimed that many within the party were concerned over Mr Corbyn’s slow decision on where Labour stands on Brexit. They feared, he wrote, that if Mr Corbyn decided to have a second referendum on whether to stay in the EU, they would struggle to have an “effective campaign of persuasion in Leave-leaning seats”. Some also said that should Mr Corbyn move too far to the other side of the argument, his decision to back a second referendum would be “too late to reverse the significant increase in popularity of the Liberal Democrats”.

 

In the summer of 2019, Mr Corbyn and Labour were still to decide on how they planned to campaign in the general election, which was dubbed a vote on Brexit.

The Conservatives would later in the year adopt the message of “get Brexit done,” a clear tone that struck a chord with the public who backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s demands to ensure the UK left the EU by January 31, 2020.

This was while the Liberal Democrats continued to push for a second referendum on the whole topic of Brexit, and campaign to ensure the UK remained as part of the bloc.

 
 

But, Mr Corbyn and Labour remained on the fence and did not make a solid commitment to one side or another, something many experts now say was the reason the party was set for failure in the December polls.

Labour on brink: How Robert Peston predicted Corbyn’s downfall for one key reason

Labour on brink: How Robert Peston predicted Corbyn’s downfall for one key reason (Image: GETTY)

Mr Corbyn and Labour were still to decide on how they planned to campaign in the general election

Mr Corbyn and Labour were still to decide on how they planned to campaign in the general election (Image: GETTY)

Mr Peston explained exactly what he believed to be happening, just before Labour opted to have a second referendum but on different terms to the Liberal Democrats.

He wrote: “Labour’s shadow cabinet, in a special Brexit session, may move towards making the historic decision to call for a referendum for ‘all circumstances’ –that is on any Brexit deal agreed by Parliament or on a no-deal Brexit.

“That said, sources close to Mr Corbyn caution me against expecting any momentous announcement.

“By contrast, shadow cabinet members tell me that Corbyn is inexorably, if slowly, shifting Labour to become the referendum party, although one senior party member tells me a device will be found to delay the shift.”

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Jeremy Corbyn news

Mr Corbyn was criticised for his approach in the election (Image: GETTY)

He added: “There will certainly be a lively discussion at the shadow cabinet on whether Labour should full-throatedly become the referendum-and-remain party – with Keir Starmer [Shadow Brexit Secretary] and Tom Watson [then-Deputy Labour leader] enthusiastically backing that shift and Ian Lavery [Chairman of Labour] and Jon Trickett [Shadow minister for the Cabinet Office] still resisting. 

“As I said, most Labour MPs think it is simply a matter of time before Labour becomes the referendum party, because even in Leave-voting constituencies they say members and supporters increasingly want that.

“But many worry that this significant movement away from supporting Brexit will come too late to reverse the significant increase in popularity of the Liberal Democrats or to mount an effective campaign of persuasion in Leave-leaning seats.”

Labour were decimated at the polls, as voters turned their back on Mr Corbyn to rally behind Mr Johnson’s Brexit push.

Labour leadership race

Labour leadership race: The candidates (Image: GETTY)

The levels of support throughout the north were historic for Mr Johnson, as key Labour areas such as Bishop Auckland, Blythe Valley and Redcar.

In total, Labour went on to win just over 200 seats, paving the way for Mr Johnson to secure the biggest majority of a Government since Margaret Thatcher’s third term with Conservatives – and condemning Mr Corbyn’s party to its worst result since 1935.

The horror showing left Mr Corbyn’s position untenable and he announced he would step down once a new leader was found.

A winner of that race is expected in June, with Sir Keir currently the bookies favourite to replace Mr Corbyn.

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