Sunday shows: Long-Bailey, Thornberry, Lewis set out priorities in leadership race

Ridge on Sunday

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey covered Labour’s defeat, Corbynism, the House of Lords, antisemitism, running with Angela Rayner, Harry and Meghan, and whether there is a hyphen in her name.

  • On why Labour lost: “Brexit was a huge factor.” Added: “Our manifesto was not being sold on the doorstep… We had reports of members being sent to seats that we had no hope of winning.”
  • On the policies: “They were the right answers to the right questions – but perhaps for a manifesto, they should have been left for a longer-term goal.”
  • On whether Labour ‘won the argument’: “Not at all, we didn’t win the argument – if we’d won the argument we would have won the general election unfortunately and we didn’t… We didn’t bring together all the positive aspects of our manifesto, we weren’t trusted on Brexit, we weren’t trusted to deal with antisemitism within our own party.”
  • On Labour’s broadband policy: “There was a clear argument that could have been made for broadband – about how bringing broadband into public ownership would speed up the roll out of broadband, which would improve productivity because more businesses would be connected to that high speed broadband. However we weren’t given the opportunity or the time to make that argument in such a small space of time within the general election.”
  • On whether she is the ‘continuity Corbyn’ candidate: “Not at all, not at all. It annoys me when people say that and unfortunately as a woman, it annoys me even more. I’m a person in my own right.”
  • On whether she would describe herself as a Corbynite: “I would describe myself as a socialist and I supported Jeremy from the start because he believed in many of the same things that I did… What we need to do now is stop labelling ourselves as Corbynites, as socialists or whatever. We are in the Labour Party, we are all socialists.”
  • On Scottish independence: “I’m fully committed to the union and I don’t think that should be shaken in any way, but ultimately the people of Scotland need to make the case and they’ve got their own parliament to determine whether they want to push that.”
  • On granting indyref2: “I wouldn’t be in favour of it, I’m honest and it’s not something that I’ll be pushing for arguing for, I’ll be arguing to keep the union.”
  • On the House of Lords: “I do want to abolish the House of Lords and we’ll be rolling out as my campaign progresses how we intend to to really shake up that constitutional package… There would need to be checks and balances in place but to have a set of completely unelected people doing that I don’t think is right.”
  • On Labour antisemitism and signing up to the Board of Deputies’ ten pledges: “I will indeed, straight away. And I think we need to work very hard and very robustly, whoever the leader becomes to repair our relationship with the Jewish community.”
  • What did you do? Did you speak up? Did you have a go at Jeremy Corbyn? What did you do? “I did, I did, I mean I spoke to Jeremy about it, I spoke to the various members of the team, I spoke to various members of the NEC about that… There was nobody that I came across that didn’t want to tackle this problem but what we didn’t do was help ourselves to tackle it.”
  • Does Jeremy Corbyn bear personal responsibility for it? “He does, and he’s apologised, and I think any Labour politician that leads the Labour Party should apologise again for what has happened.”
  • On her slow start: “I didn’t have a campaign ready to go because I was trying to win the general election… And I’ve never been personally ambitious – I got involved in politics because of my principles.”
  • Do you really want it? “Of course I do! I want to lead this party and not only lead the party, I want to be Prime Minister because I got involved in politics to change the world.”
  • On her pact with Angela Rayner: “We’re close but slightly different in terms of the way we operate, we thought we would be a really positive unifying force for the parliamentary Labour Party, for our membership and also send a positive message out to the country… that politics does not have to be nasty.”
  • On Harry and Meghan: “I don’t want them to leave the UK” but added that Meghan had received hostility from the press and sexism was involved.
  • On whether there is a hyphen in Long-Bailey: “There actually is a hyphen! But I’m not bothered, I mean, I was Rebecca Long before I got married and I thought it was a really good idea to keep the ‘Long’ because I was quite proud. We’re all girls in our family so there was no one to kind of carry on the name, so I wanted to add the Bailey on, not to upset the husband – to make him feel like he was part of it all. So I’m not bothered if people put a hyphen in or not.”

Labour leadership hopeful Clive Lewis talked about the chances of getting through to the next stage and his new manifesto.

  • On only having four MP/MEP nominations: “Clearly I wish my mum could nominate me as well, that would be fantastic wouldn’t it?  But it’s not quite in the rules. Look, it’s hard and I think some of the things that I’m saying aren’t necessarily things which everyone after a devastating defeat want to hear.”
  • On the policies not going down well with colleagues: “Reform of the House of Lords, devolution, embracing proportional representation and enabling a constitutional convention.” Also mentioned “the kind of voting system that we have”, “allowing local CLPs to decide whether they stand candidates in a general election” and a second independence referendum in Scotland.
  • On whether Labour should pledge to abolish private schools: “Yes, I do… I think that division in our society set at an early age has consequences for inequality.”
  • On his personal manifesto: “One of the key things we are talking about in here is a constitutional convention and that would look at things like devolution, House of Lords, the make-up of how we actually vote, proportional representation… It may well be at one of those constitutional conventions that people actually say we’d like to talk about the entirety of the state and that could well include the Royal Family – what size it is, what its function is.”
  • His personal view on the royals: “I’m a Republican… I actually want to be a citizen in this country, not a subject.”
  • Do you think Brexit is a racist endeavour? “How many people of colour, how many black people on the day after the referendum woke up with a sense of dread because of what had happened?  Ultimately our country had chosen to listen to Boris Johnson – someone who had a track record of racist commentary, of giving credence to racism, to Nigel Farage – someone who stood in front of a poster which was overtly racist.”
  • On whether racism is part of the reason he has only got four nominations: “I guess the question I would turn back on you is why do we think there hasn’t been a female leader of the Labour Party? And I would say answer the question because of that is because we have something called structural sexism within our society.  We have structural sexism and we have structural racism.”

The Andrew Marr Show

Labour leadership candidate Emily Thornberry discussed her chances in the leadership race, how she would deal with Donald Trump, her support for the Queen, and the arrest of the UK ambassador in Iran.

    • On whether she can get the MP/MEP nominations: “Yeah, I think so. I mean, what’s happened is that we’ve only had a week to get the nominations in. There’s a large number of MPs who haven’t nominated yet… From the conversations that I’ve had this weekend I’m fairly confident that, as long as I don’t get any slippage, I’ll be fine. I’m going to get across the line.”
    • On whether it was a mistake to say that Labour is a Remain party: “It was disastrous for us to go into a general election in those circumstances, I accept that. But I really did try to stop us going for a general election. My view was that you couldn’t have a general election over one issue that was basically a referendum.”
    • On whether she would leader Labour to campaign to rejoin the EU: “No, I think what we do is we have to be pragmatic and practical about it. We’re leaving at the end of January and I’m afraid that with deep regret, that’s what is going to happen.”
    • On her tweet from 2014, in which she shared a picture of a white van and a house with St George’s Cross flags: “I made a mistake. I took a photograph of a house that was covered in flags many months after the world cup. I was taking a series of photographs during a by-election in order to explain to people what a by-election is like. And I was asked to resign – I did. I was asked not to make any comment – I did. That was my mistake.”
    • She added: “The truth of the matter is that I was brought up on a council estate in a house that looks very similar to this. My brother was a builder until he had an accident. You know, I’ve got a sister who’s a bus driver. I don’t sneer at people. It’s not fair to say. I am a successful woman but I have had a struggle getting here.”
    • On the leadership race: “The contest is not a week long. The contest is many months and we’ll see, when it opens up and when people are able to breathe and look to the future as opposed to their deep grief about the past, then I think that it will open up much more.”
    • On how she would deal with Trump if she were Prime Minister: “The thing about bullies is that you have to stand up to them. I think that you shouldn’t be afraid.”
    • Asked for her thoughts on the decision by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step back from royal duties, she said: “I think that the British taxpayer should pay for the security of Harry and Megan and their family. As they do with former ministers. Listen, Harry spent 20 years on the front line in Afghanistan through many tours of duty. He has done great service – just on the basis of that… If they decide that they want to go to Canada, of course they must always be protected.” [Prince Harry has not spent 20 years on the front line in Afghanistan. Thornberry tweeted a correction.]
    • She added: “I would turn my attention more to losing the Queen actually, who has put in so many decades of service to our country and who is extremely popular, and when we sing ‘God save the Queen’ with many of us now thinking of the age that she is, it’s almost personal.”
    • On the arrest of the ambassador in Iran: “It’s a breach of international law. They should not have arrested him. Thankfully they let him go after three hours but it was obviously totally wrong for them to do so.”

More from LabourList