Labour party conference give Corbyn a RAPTUROUS welcome to the stage
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Ahead of the Labour Party Conference, Ian Austin claimed the party had been stolen by “woke students and trendy liberals” following crushing defeats at the 2019 general and Hartlepool by-election earlier this year. He said Sir Keir Starmer needed to use the Conference to “persuade the country that Labour has learnt the lessons of that terrible defeat.”
Mr Austin quit the Labour Party in February 2019 and had admitted his party was “broken” and that he had become “ashamed” of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
But speaking today, the former Dudley North MP added: “Sir Keir has a lot of work to do: Show some passion. Tell us what you stand for.
“And he needs to get better people around him, too. So many of his top team are either anonymous or hopeless.
“As things stand, Labour is too weak to win an election, yet strong enough to prevent an alternative party developing.
“That is a tragedy for the millions who want a decent electable alternative to the Government but are currently politically homeless.”
Lord Austin’s comments come as a report warned Labour needed to pay “as much attention” to winning back seats in Scotland as it does to those in the north of England if the party wants to win a UK general election.
The Scottish Fabians insisted that it was “impossible” for Labour to return to power at Westminster without a major effort north of the border.
Meanwhile, any suggestion that the party could form a power-sharing alliance with the SNP in a bid to oust the Tories from the government was dismissed as a “political dead-end”.
A new paper by the group warned that talk of such a “progressive alliance” harms Labour’s prospects in both Scotland and England”.
It insisted: “The Labour Party must be ambitious and aspire to win seats across the length and breadth of Britain.
“In successive elections, suggestions of a deal with the SNP harmed Labour not just in Scotland but also in English marginals, where voters rejected the idea of the SNP holding the balance of power.
“A progressive alliance under the existing First Past the Post system is a political dead end.”
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The briefing paper also warned leaders not to focus all their efforts on winning back seats in the north of England that the Tories captured in 2019.
With Labour currently only having one Scottish MP, the Scottish Fabians stressed: “An overemphasis on the ‘Red Wall’ seats in the North of England risks Labour losing sight of seats it needs to gain elsewhere.”
The Scottish Fabians’ chair Martin McCluskey, one of the authors of the paper, said: “Labour has a mountain to climb to win the next UK general election, but with voters swinging between parties more than ever before they have a historic opportunity.
“Almost one in five of the seats Labour needs for a stable majority are in Scotland. The UK Labour Party cannot afford to put Scotland in the ‘too difficult’ pile.
“We need to hear as much from Keir Starmer and the shadow cabinet about winning back Scotland as we do about winning back seats in the north of England.
“Labour’s Scottish seats were the first red wall to fall, and they need just as much attention.”
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