Sunday 4 December 2016

Corbyn urged to resign as Labour in Scotland is humiliated at polls

Sam Lister in Edinburgh

Published 07/05/2016 | 02:30

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to congratulate Labour candidate Gill Furniss on winning the parliamentary by-election
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to congratulate Labour candidate Gill Furniss on winning the parliamentary by-election
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon had a triumphant night

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has admitted that his party has "a lot of building to do" in Scotland amid devastating losses which saw it pushed into a humiliating third place behind the Conservatives.

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Prime minister David Cameron said there had been a "realignment" in Scottish politics after Ruth Davidson led the Tories to a "historic" result, which means the party is now the main opposition in the assembly.

Mr Cameron claimed that Labour had "completely lost touch" with working people and was "obsessed" with left-wing causes, instead of the issues facing voters.

He said: "The Labour Party have lost touch with the hard-working people they are supposed to represent.

"They are so obsessed with their left-wing causes and unworkable economic policies that they've forgotten that people want jobs, people want livelihoods, people want lower taxes, people want homes they live in and can afford to own - the things that we are now delivering."

Meltdown

Lacklustre results in England and Wales, combined with the drubbing in Scotland, fuelled fresh criticism of Mr Corbyn's leadership of Labour.

Backbenchers decried the "cataclysmic" Scottish result and warned that the party was "moving away from government".

Veteran backbencher David Winnick said the leader should consider stepping down in the interests of the party.

He said:"Although there is speculation about a possible coup in the Parliamentary Labour Party, I don't think that is the best option.

"The party faces a crisis and the onus is on Jeremy himself.

"He should decide whether his leadership is helping or hindering the party. I think all the evidence shows that it is not helping."

But Mr Corbyn said: "I'm carrying on. Don't worry about that. I'm carrying on. I'm fine. I'm very happy."

During a visit to the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough constituency, which the party held in a parliamentary by-election, he said: "All across England last night, we were getting predictions that we were going to lose councils. We didn't. We hung on and we grew support in a lot of places."

Mr Corbyn added: "There is a lot of building to do in Scotland. We are going to walk hand-in-hand with the party in Scotland to build that support up once again."

He told Sky News that "clearly there's a long way to go" and that he was "disappointed" with the result in Scotland.

Mr Corbyn hailed Labour's result in Wales as "excellent", despite the party losing one of its most experienced politicians, Leighton Andrews, after Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood took Rhondda.

The party failed to secure a majority in the Welsh assembly.

Nicola Sturgeon led the SNP to a record third term in power at Holyrood, the seat of the assembly, but failed to win an overall majority as her party dropped six seats.

Labour lost 13 seats, taking the party down to 24 in a result that was branded "cataclysmic" by Bassetlaw MP John Mann.

Leadership

The party's losses in English councils were less deep than some had predicted, but frustrations with Mr Corbyn's leadership bubbled to the surface.

Backbench MP Neil Coyle warned the party was "moving away from government" under the veteran left-winger, while the leader of the Labour group on Portsmouth Council, John Ferrett, denounced Mr Corbyn on BBC Radio as "incompetent" and "incapable of giving the leadership we need".

Irish Independent

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