John McDonnell: It is 'ludicrous' to blame Jeremy Corbyn for Hartlepool
Fierce debate has broken out in the Labour party today over the Hartlepool by-election which delivered the Conservatives an historic victory
Less than 12 hours since the result was announced, the blame game for what caused Labour's humiliating defeat today started.
And, as per, it is the left and the right of the party at loggerheads.
JOE spoke to Labour MP and former shadow chancellor under Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell.
"Regrettably the result is as predicted," he said.
"The right, in the voice of Peter Mandelson, are ludicrously already trying to blame Jeremy Corbyn and trying to use this election result to bring in measures to take control of the party and remove any left presence from the shadow cabinet."
McDonnell's words come after a fiery interview on BBC Radio 4 this morning, in which former Hartlepool Labour MP and party grandee, Mandelson, suggested the loss was partly a result of Corbyn's leadership.
"They are the two Cs: Covid and Corbyn," Mandelson told BBC's Today programme, also adding "I feel mild fury that the last 10 years of what we have been doing in Labour Party locally and nationally has brought us to this."
McDonnell also took a swipe at Starmer's leadership.
"The lesson is that you can’t win elections with no political direction or clear policies," he said.
"Labour also has to be the party rooted in the community it seeks to serve, which only comes from community organising.
"My only hope is that lessons are learnt."
Starmer has come under criticism over his perceived lack of direction as Labour leader since he started, from both inside and outside his party.
The result has further inflamed tensions between different sections of the party, including groups like Momentum.
"This result is a disaster," they said.
This result is a disaster. In 2017, we won over 50% of the vote in Hartlepool. Now it looks like we’ve lost it to the Tories.
A transformative socialist message has won in Hartlepool before, and it would have won again.
— Momentum ? (@PeoplesMomentum) May 7, 2021
Diane Abbott, Labour MP and former shadow home secretary under Corbyn, also took to Twitter to express her dissatisfaction about the result.
Crushing defeat for Labour in Hartlepool. Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result. Labour won the seat twice under his leadership. Keir Starmer must think again about his strategy #HartlepoolByElection
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) May 7, 2021
However, some political pundits still saw the result as a symptom of the failings of Starmer to distance himself from the left of the party.
This is another key test for Starmer. Will he now purge Momentum. If you can be a member of Momentum and a member of Labour then the party has zero chance of recapturing seats like Hartlepool. https://t.co/GLcCf8htzT
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) May 7, 2021
And Boris Johnson's estranged former political advisor, Dominic Cummings, also pulled no punches on why Labour suffered such a devastating outcome today.
Like McDonnell, he suggests that party are lacking direction.
KS is a beta-lawyer-gamma-politician, like ~all in SW1 he obsesses on Media Reality not Actual Reality, he’s played the lobby game (badly) for a year WITHOUT A MESSAGE TO THE COUNTRY, now the pundits will a/ savage him, b/ tell him he needs to focus on them more, more exclusives!
— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) May 7, 2021
The whole thread is worth your time.