McDonnell demands Labour “come out fighting” after string of local election losses

6th May, 2017 12:02 pm

Labour must come out fighting after its “terrible” local election results, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closes allies insisted today.

John McDonnell said the party had to be more “effective” after it lost nearly 400 council seats, won only two out of six of the new metro mayor posts and came third in Scotland, where it lost control of Glasgow council.

Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram boosted moral with comprehensive victories in Liverpool and Greater Manchester respectively but otherwise activists awoke today to newspaper predictions that Theresa May was on course for a huge general election victory.

This week’s results were “disastrous” for Labour, backbencher Stephen Kinnock told the BBC yesterday, and suggested doubts over Corbyn were coming up regularly on the doorstep.

Today, however, McDonnell struck a bullish tone after results he described as “terrible”.

Labour has a history of “coming out fighting” and must do so again, he told Iain Dale on LBC.

“What we’ve got to do is be much more effective in cutting through, over this next five weeks, that’s our challenge isn’t it? Party members say about how you’ve got to improve is quite right, that’s why we’ve got to do.”

Yesterday’s results put the Tories on a projected vote share of 38 per cent, Labour on 27 per cent, the Lib Dems on 18 per cent and UKIP, who endured a disastrous campaign, on five per cent, according to professor John Curtice for the BBC.

McDonnell believes that voters will warm to the Labour leader the more they hear to him and said the party should present the “real Jeremy Corbyn” who he insisted is “honest, decent and principled”.

He also repeated the leadership’s demand for Theresa May to take on Corbyn in head-to-head television debates during the general election campaign.

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