Thornberry: Labour would be “more professional” under my leadership

Published by Scott Challinor on February 6th 2020, 9:09am

Labour shadow foreign secretary and leadership hopeful Emily Thornberry has said that the party would be “more professional” if she were to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

Thornberry believes that the leadership contest is currently being dominated by “two slightly monolithic” campaigns: those of Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

Sir Keir and Long-Bailey have both garnered enough support to reach the final ballot, along with Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.

Thornberry is the only candidate left in the running still to win the support of five per cent of constituency Labour parties or three affiliate groups [including two unions] to cross the threshold. She has until February 14 to do so before being ruled out.

Speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Thornberry said of the other hopefuls: “One [Rebecca Long-Bailey] is perceived as being on the left, with the support of Momentum and all the data that obviously Momentum has.

“And the other one [Sir Keir Starmer] therefore by comparison is seen as the right or the centre ground.”

Thornberry added that the contest should not be "for the leaders take us to the left or to the right" but that Corbyn’s successor should "take us forward, we need to have the best candidate”.

She said: “To a certain extent, it is a good old fashioned squeeze between these two big, you know, campaigns, with all the data and everything else, and it's quite difficult [for me] in the middle of that.

"But what I want to do is to break this and to get onto the ticket. We should have everybody on the ticket, so that the members can make the decision.”

Addressing the party’s fourth successive general election defeat in December, Thornberry pinned the blame on “terrible tactical errors”, saying that the party should have “stood ground” on pushing for a second referendum on Brexit as part of its policy.

She said: "Our problem was that they [the Conservatives] had 'get Brexit done', and they wanted to have basically a referendum wrapped up as a general election so they weren't held to be accountable for anything that they've done.

"We weren't able to talk about other policies...then we tried to change the subject [away from Brexit] and we weren't able to."

Discussing what she would bring to Labour as leader, she said: "We will be more believable, we will be more credible and people would say: 'Oh, thank goodness the Labour Party's back’.

"You know: 'We can vote for the Labour Party now, because the Labour Party hasn't fundamentally changed, but at least we can believe that they will do the things that they say they're going to do’.

“I think that what I bring to this [leadership contest] is a depth of experience, particularly on foreign affairs and on security matters. I think that I raise everyone else's game.

"I've been in Parliament for 15 years, I was born in the Labour Party, I will die in the Labour Party.”

The result of the leadership contest and the new Labour leader will be announced on April 4.

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Scott Challinor
Business Editor
February 6th 2020, 9:09am

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