Long-Bailey fails Labour history lesson

Published by Craig Wilmann on February 18th 2020, 3:03pm

Rebecca Long Bailey was accused of not knowing her Labour Party history last night, when she was asked to name her favourite Labour prime minister of the past fifty years. 

Responding to a question in Channel 4's leadership hustings, Long-Bailey opted for Clement Attlee, whose premiership ended over sixty eight years ago. 

Her leadership rival Lisa Nandy opted for Barbara Castle, who was never prime minister. Although, in Nandy's defence, she did clarify that she thought Castle was 'the best PM Labour never had.' 

Sir Keir Starmer, the favourite to win the Labour leadership, did name a Labour prime minister of the last fifty years, although only just. While Harold Wilson's final term as prime minister ended in 1976, his first term, for which he is most remembered, saw him serve from October 1964 to June 1970. 

And while Attlee, Castle and Wilson are giants of the Labour Party and British political history in general, the choices served to underline the toxicity of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown  among the party's grassroots. 

A YouGov poll of Labour members last month revealed that Jeremy Corbyn was their favourite leader of the last century, with 71% having a favourable view of the Islington North MP, compared with just 66% and 62% for Attlee and Wilson, respectively. Although, it must be pointed out that 29% of respondents said they had an unfavourable view of Corbyn, with only 3% and 7% saying the same for the two former PMs. 

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Authored By

Craig Wilmann
Executive Director
February 18th 2020, 3:03pm

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