Jeremy Corbyn: Labour must do more to win 2020 general election

Jeremy Corbyn has admitted Labour is failing to make enough progress to win the next general election. Picture: PA
Jeremy Corbyn has admitted Labour is failing to make enough progress to win the next general election. Picture: PA
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JEREMY Corbyn will admit Labour is not on course to win the 2020 general election but demand an end to public sniping by critics of his leadership.

The Labour leader will directly confront unrest fuelled by last week’s election results when he addresses the weekly meeting of his MPs and peers at Westminster.

Sadiq Khan - whose victory in the London mayoral contest provided the party with an eye-catching result - is among senior figures to have warned the leadership it must seek support beyond a left-wing activist base.

Senior colleagues have clashed openly on social media amid an increasingly fraught atmosphere within the Parliamentary Labour Party - though there appears to be no prospect of any imminent challenge.

Mr Corbyn will concede that Thursday’s results - when he became the first opposition leader for 50 years to lose council seats in his first local elections and saw the party hammered in Scotland and fall back in Wales - were “mixed”.

He will also acknowledge the need to secure the backing of voters across the political spectrum.

But he will insist the party’s electoral recovery after the 2015 general election loss “has begun in earnest” and make a firm appeal for the party to unite behind him and focus attention on fighting the Conservatives.

“I don’t expect, or even want, blind loyalty, but members and supporters expect us all to focus on taking on the Tories - and for our debates to be focused on policy, not personality,” he is due to tell them.

“Members also tell me that they don’t think Labour MPs should be parading on the media to give a running commentary on our party. If we are on the media we are there to give our verdict on this failed and divisive government, not on each other.

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“We need, if not across-the-board unity, then at least respect for each other - and to turn our fire on this Tory Government, and its forced academisation, tax and disability cuts policies in utter disarray.

“It’s been said in the past few days we need to stop talking about ourselves and engaging with the concerns and priorities of the wider public. I suggest we all follow that advice.”

He will say the party met a target of closing the gap on the Tories - with Labour a point ahead of the Tories in a projection of national vote share based on last week’s voting patterns.

“We won all four mayoral elections, including the two gains in London and Bristol, we made a net gain in the number of Labour councils across England, we held councils across the south, we scored the second best result in Wales since devolution, and we made a net gain of three police and crime commissioners,” he will say.

“But let’s be clear. The results were mixed. We are not yet doing enough to win in 2020.

“This is only the first stage in our task of building a winning electoral majority, attracting voters from all the other parties and mobilising those who have been turned off politics altogether - as we did last week in Bristol and London.

“But overall we have moved in the right direction. And now we have to build on these results.”

He will say: “We are united across our party in our opposition to the destructive austerity, failed economic policies and the deep unfairness of this government.

“There is a broad consensus in support of a different kind of politics and a new economic strategy built around public investment and enterprise and fair taxation.

“Last week’s elections showed Labour’s recovery has begun in earnest. We now need to work together to turn that into the kind of sustained revival that will deliver an election victory for the whole country in 2020.”