Labour ‘making progress’, says leader Jeremy Corbyn

Published: Monday 25th January 2016 by The News Editor

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Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour is making progress under his leadership, despite trailing the Conservatives in the opinion polls.

Amid continued sniping from some Labour MPs, Mr Corbyn insisted the ordinary members whose votes swept him to the leadership in September were “very happy” with the direction the party was taking.

Appearing on ITV1’s This Morning, the Labour leader also sought to play down divisions within the parliamentary party, saying they were “getting along just fine”.

“I am doing my very best to present politics in a human way, to also campaign for Labour to win the general election in 2020,” he said.

“Party members are very happy. I spend a lot of time travelling round the country campaigning and I have the most fascinating debates you have ever heard in your life with some of my colleagues in Parliament, but we are getting on fine.

“We have defeated the Government on tax credits, we defeated them on police cuts, we defeated them on that appalling idea of running Saudi Arabia’s prisons on behalf of its royal family.

“We are making progress as a party, don’t worry about that. Everybody’s getting along just fine.”

His comments came as an unpublished report commissioned by the party to explain last year’s general election defeat warned that it needed to overcome “deep and powerful” negatives to win back voters’ trust.

The report, by pollster Deborah Mattinson, said that swing voters see Labour as “nice” but “in thrall to the undeserving” and “in denial” about its track record on the economy.

Former Cabinet minister Dame Margaret Beckett drew on the Mattinson report in her own review, published last week, of the lessons to be learnt from the 2015 defeat.

But Ms Mattinson said on Sunday that her findings had been reduced to a single bullet point in Dame Margaret’s report, which she described as a “whitewash” and a “massive missed opportunity”.

Her report, Emerging from the Darkness – obtained by ITV News, was based on focus-group discussions with former Labour supporters who had switched to the Conservatives in England and the Scottish National Party in Scotland.

It said that Labour would need to “atone for its past” in order to rebuild its reputation.

And it said the party needed to “redefine and revitalise its brand”, “be for middle class voters, not just down and outs”, “above all, be competent, especially on the economy” and “show it takes Scotland seriously”.

Responding to the report, Conservative Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands said: “This secret report confirms that the public hasn’t forgotten the mess Labour got us into with their borrowing, debt and taxes.

“Yet they are still in denial about their appalling track record on the economy – and now Labour want even more borrowing, even more debt, and even more taxes.”

Published: Monday 25th January 2016 by The News Editor

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