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If Labour elects Sir Keir Starmer leader, it will lose the next general election

07 February, 2020

Sir Keir Starmer

• MY trade union leader, Unite’s Len McCluskey, said last week that every Pottery Barn shop in the US has a sign that says, “if you break it, you own it” and that those in Labour’s second-referendum lobby would do well to recall this penalty.

Particularly after party members from left to right – including MPs and ex-MPs have pointed out: Labour’s defeat in the 2019 general election was largely conditioned by our abandonment of our pledge to respect the referendum result mandating departure from the European Union.

Now we have left the EU Labour needs to develop a positive vision of life outside of this corrupt and neo-liberal bosses’ club and a vision that will rebuild the working-class communities who voted to leave the EU. It is only with these polices that we will be successful at the next general election.

In relation to workers’ rights, when we said to workers that Sir Keir Starmer’s six red lines for supporting any deal would keep us aligned to EU rights, they rejected this; not surprising really as when they voted to leave, they voted for change, and what we were offering was more of the same zero-hour, low-pay, precarious employment economy.

Last week, as a candidate for trade union liaison officer at the Holborn & St Pancras Labour annual meeting, I said that McCluskey had warned last May, following the European Parliament elections, that those Labour Party leaders who were supporting a second referendum had “no interest in a Labour victory at the next general election” as this would alienate traditional voters who voted leave in 2016.

How right he was; 52 out of the 60 seats lost by Labour in 2019 voted to leave the EU in 2016.

I said that if Labour elects Sir Keir as leader – the architect of our disastrous Brexit policy – we will lose the next election. Some of Sir Keir’s supporters started booing and the constituency chair snatched the microphone from me. It seems some in Labour still have a way to go before they learn the lessons of our defeat.

SARAH FRIDAY
Unite delegate to Holborn & St Pancras
Labour Party General and Executive Committee

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