Labour MPs today piled pressure on Jeremy Corbyn after the party held on to key councils in England but fell back heavily on its performance in the last set of local elections.
With Labour’s share of the vote down by about six per cent on its 2012 result, according to a BBC analysis, backbenchers criticised Corbyn’s performance and said the party was no closer to returning to government.
The prospect of any coup attempt diminished, however, as Labour avoided a bloodbath in local government in England. The party lost control of Dudley council but by lunchtime on Friday had recorded only 25 defeated councillors compared to forecast of 150 losses or even 170.
Today Jo Cox, Batley and Spen MP, called on the Corbyn to look at what had gone “wrong” since September.
“I don’t think now is the time for a leadership challenge against Jeremy, but I think Jeremy needs to personally recognise that this isn’t good enough,” she told the BBC.
“It’s not good enough for Labour supporters, Labour activists who’ve worked so hard to get Labour candidates elected.
“So he needs to take responsibility. He needs to set out a route map back to power in 2020, and let’s rally first and foremost around the referendum.
“But we need to look very hard at what we’ve got wrong in the last eight months and put it right.”
Emma Reynolds, a former shadow Cabinet minister who declined to serve under Corbyn, said Labour should have made major gains when the Tories are in “disarray” over the EU and after another chaotic Budget.
“We do really have a lot of work to do if we want to get back on the route of power and I really do think the results overnight weren’t good enough to suggest that we’re en route to getting rid of this wretched Tory Government,” she told the Today programme.
When asked if Corbyn would survive as leader until 2020, she said: “That will be up to him to a large extent, it remains to be seen what he wants to do.”
Yesterday, within minutes of polls closing, Neil Coyle told Newsnight the party was “further away from government” than under Ed Miliband in 2015.