Labour needs ‘unity’ to win an election says John McDonnell
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Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has warned that people do not vote for “divided parties” and claimed that Keir Starmer has “misunderstood the nature of how to win an election”. It came as Labour hosts its annual party conference in Brighton this week, resulting in some party-rule changes as rows between the leadership and left-wingers dogged the meeting.
Speaking on BBC Newsnight, John McDonnell said: “I think he’s misunderstood. You need unity to win, people don’t vote for divided parties.
“I think the two things are indivisible.
“So I think he’s misunderstood the nature of how you win an election but you do need a united party
“I can’t think of a party where the party has been divided where they’ve been elected.
“In fact, actually that was part of our problem in 2017 because we had so many divisions within the parliamentary Labour Party.”
Emily Maitlis chipped in: “So Peter Kyle said ‘you win with a winning vision’, and Peter Mandelson seems to be very happy tonight.
“Is this a Blairite takeover
Mr McDonnell said in response: “I think, Keir who’s looked at those people around in the apparatchiks who usually cause most of the trouble, they’ve looked at the opinion polls, both in terms of where we stand with the Conservatives and also Keir’s ratings which have collapsed.
“I think they’ve panicked.
“They’ve reached the Blair right playbook, the Peter Mandelson playbook and you see what a step by step what’s happening.
“The old playbook from Mandelson is you show you’re a strong leader– by attacking who? you attack your own membership.
“And that’s exactly what’s happened today. That’s what the rule changes were all about.”
Labour’s annual conference has voted in favour of Sir Keir Starmer’s plans to overhaul the party’s rules.
It gives MPs more power in choosing their future leaders.
The Labour leader called the changes a “major step” towards Labour winning a general election.
However, rows between the leadership and left-wingers have persisted throughout the conference.
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