Die-hard anti-Corbyn groups come out for preferred leadership candidates
The message, sent this afternoon to the Progress mailing list, tells readers that:
The party can either choose to continue along the path charted by Jeremy Corbyn over the past four years and march us further into political irrelevance. Or it can choose to learn the lessons of defeat, reconnect with the British public and rebuild a relevant, credible party, trusted and fit for national office.
The first opinion poll of members in the Labour leadership election – from YouGov, who correctly predicted the outcomes in 2015 and 2016 – shows there is everything to fight for.
In the first round it shows candidates such as Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips in first and third place on 36% and 12%, and “continuity Corbynite” candidate Rebecca Long Bailey second on 23% – with modelling suggesting at this stage in the contest, Mr. Starmer might beat Ms. Long Bailey in the final round.
This is not a forgone conclusion, however, and we all need to campaign hard to ensure that Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips and other mainstream, progressive candidates that declare get a fair crack of the whip – and as much support as we can give them.
That’s why, with Labour First, we’ve launched the Reclaiming Labour campaign, so we can identify and contact everyone who shares our values and wants to be part of winning back the party.
‘Mainstream’ has, for the past couple of years at least, been the Labour right’s preferred shorthand for ‘one of us’.
Labour First and Progress adherents have been at the forefront of efforts to undermine what they laughably call ‘hard left’ politics ever since Corbyn was first elected as party leader in 2015. Many Labour supporters blame them for the fact that Corbyn didn’t quite take power in 2017 – and for the ‘referendum and remain’ push that triggered the loss of so many leave-voting ‘heartland’ seats last month.
Many Labour supporters also believe that those factions were more than happy to lose both elections, as long as it ultimately let them take ‘their’ party back.
And both have now come out for the candidates they believe will – literally – let them ‘reclaim’ Labour.
Keir Starmer, in particular, has pitched his campaign so far on the idea that he would not represent a return to the pre-Corbyn, right-wing regime that saw Labour continually haemorrhage voters and so alienated its working-class base that the 2017 ‘Corbyn surge’ gained the party its biggest increase in vote share since 1945.
He will not be helped by the declaration by Progress and Labour First that, as far as they are concerned, he, Jess Phillips and other so-called ‘mainstream’ candidates represent exactly that.
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