Good morning. I hope you all had a good Christmas. Politics Live is back today, although with parliament still in recess, and much of the UK still in holiday mode, the news agenda is looking a lot thinner than it has been recently.
But the Labour leadership campaign has been rumbling on throughout the Christmas period. It is still at the preliminary skirmishes stage, but this morning Clive Lewis, the shadow Treasury minister and one of only two candidates who have confirmed that they are running (the other is Emily Thornberry) gave an interview to the Today programme about what went wrong for Labour at the election. He said on Brexit the party should have fought more strongly for remain. Asked if the party should have adopted an out-and-out remain position, he replied:
I think what we have to understand is what Brexit was. For many of us watching Brexit unfold, Brexit was a policy of a faction of the Conservative party and the right of this country that wanted to put globalisation on steroids, if you want, and it was a hard right political project. And I believe that the Labour party had to fight that with all its vigour and to offer an alternative.
I don’t believe this was the main reason for what happened to us in the election, but I think one of the things that we have to accept is that if you pick a side, you have to then argue for that side, and argue for it comprehensively. And what we didn’t do, by triangulating – one of the key USPs of Jeremy Corbyn was that he was an authentic politician, I genuinely believe that he was, but on the biggest political crisis of British modern politics we were unable, via Jeremy, to be able to take a position. I think actually we should have stood our ground and argued our case.
Lewis was a member of the shadow cabinet until he resigned in 2017 so that he could vote against the bill allowing the government to trigger article 50, starting the process that will lead to the UK leaving the EU. Before the election he also strongly backed Another Europe is Possible’s “Remain, Reform, Revolt” campaign, saying the UK should remain.
I will post more from Lewis’s interview, which expands on an article he wrote for the Guardian earlier this month confirming his candidature, shortly. It follows two other Labour leadership developments overnight.
- Rebecca Long-Bailey has made her opening pitch for the Labour leadership, avoiding any direct criticism of Corbyn but implicitly offering an alternative approach by promising to champion “progressive patriotism”. She did so in an article for the Guardian. My story about it is here, and the article itself is here.
In her article Long-Bailey, like Lewis, criticises the party’s Brexit position, saying: “Our compromise solution satisfied too few.” But she does not say what the party should have done instead.
- Ian Lavery, the Labour party chair, has confirmed that he is considering standing for the leadership. A spokesman for Lavery told the Daily Mirror:
Ian is optimistic about the challenges ahead and knows there is a lot of work to be done to unify the party. He has had a tremendous amount of support and is seriously considering all of his options at present.
As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens (in so far as there is any), as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I will post a summary when I wrap up.
You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.
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