Labour infighting: Keir Starmer UNFIT to lead party after Jeremy Corbyn, warns Lucy Powell

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Speaking to LBC radio, the Labour MP, who retained her Manchester Central seat after the disastrous result of the general election for the Labour Party, claimed a Remainer such as Keir Starmer could not succeed Jeremy Corbyn as he would risk undermining the result of the 2016 referendum failing to solve the underlying issues facing the party after the general election. 

Ms Powell, who assisted Ed Miliband during his leadership campaign, also claimed that merely replacing Jeremy Corbyn with a new leader would not solve the huge problems striking her party. 

She said: “Many of these underlying trends began many years ago.

“We’ve been losing support in our heartland communities for many years.

“Four elections in a row we’ve now lost and the underlying trend of each of those elections have been the same.

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Labour Party: Lucy Powell claims Keir Starmer unfit to replace Corbyn (Image: GETTY)

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Keir Starmer tipped to be among those who will run to replace Corbyn (Image: GETTY)

“They’ve been catalysed in this election by those same communities and many of those people feeling that we were just not carrying out what they wanted, which was for Brexit to happen.”

She added: “They’ve been catalysed by other decisions that we made along the way and, obviously, leadership is all part of that at the same time as well.

“So it’s all synonymous with each other and the idea that we can think that we can just change the person at the top, and somehow this will all snap back into place is a really big mistake.”

It comes as shadow chancellor John McDonnell has confirmed he will not be part of Labour’s next shadow cabinet following the party’s crushing defeat in Thursday’s election.

The shadow chancellor, who played a prominent role in Labour’s election campaign, said “I’ve done my bit”, and suggested a big reshuffle of Labour’s front bench team will now take place.

Mr McDonnell added that while “Jeremy was the right leader”, it is time for the party to “move on” under new leadership.

He told BBC News: “We will all go now. The new leader will come in place and appoint a shadow cabinet. I won’t be part of the shadow cabinet.

“I’ve done my bit. We need to move on at that stage with that new leader.”

A senior source close to Mr McDonnell, who has been shadow chancellor since 2015, said: “John will stay in place until a new leader and new frontbench team is in place.”

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General election results 2019 (Image: EXPRESS)

It comes as Mr Corbyn has indicated he will quit as Labour leader in the early part of next year, despite facing calls to quit immediately after his party’s poor election showing.

The election saw Labour swept aside by the Conservatives in its heartlands in the Midlands, north Wales and north-eastern England, with Jeremy Corbyn’s party securing the fewest number of seats since 1935.

Some traditional Labour constituencies, such as Darlington in the north of England, now have a Conservative MP for the first time in decades – in the case of Bishop Auckland, for the first time since the seat was created.

Mr McDonnell, who retained the Hayes and Harlington seat he has held since 1997 in Thursday’s election, added that Mr Corbyn had been “demonised by a smear campaign against him” by the media.

“No. I didn’t back the wrong person because Jeremy was the right leader. We could have won in 2017. Things moved on. Brexit dominated everything,” he said.


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