Published On: Sun, Feb 21st, 2021

Labour Party latest: John McDonnell demands Keir Starmer give the whip back to Corbyn | Politics | News

Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has called on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to give the party whip back to Jeremy Corbyn. He said the move to reinstate the whip for the former Labour leader would “unite the party”. This comes amid growing pushback against Sir Keir’s leadership record amid falling poll numbers after almost a year in charge. 

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Mr McDonnell said: “My only real word of advice to Sir Keir is to unite the party as he promised.

“That does mean giving the whip back to Jeremy Corbyn.

“Let’s unite the party so we can move on and really be an effective opposition, by holding this government to account while presenting an alternative.”

Earlier this week, in an interview with ITV News, Sir Keir Starmer was accused of blaming Jeremy Corbyn for his struggling poll numbers, more than a year after the election defeat.

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ITV Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt confronted the Labour leader on the embarrassing poll numbers, asking: “Why do you think you are behind the Conservatives in the opinion polls?”

When Sir Keir cited the general election result in November 2019, Mr Hewitt fired back: “So it’s all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault that you’re behind?”

The Labour leader did not deny he was blaming Jeremy Corbyn.

Also during his interview, Mr McDonnell called on Britain to return to the economic radicalism of the post World War Labour governments following the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr McDonnell said: “Let’s really now hold this government to account, lets really now set out that clear vision.

“Exactly as Keir did during the week.

“That radicalness of the Atlee government, tackling inequality.

“But let’s start talking about the alternative programme, the detail of those policies.”

Earlier this week, Jeremy Corbyn’s former spokesman hit out at Keir Starmer’s attempt to re-launch his leadership. 

James Schneider picked holes in the Labour leader’s plans during an interview on BBC Newsnight.

He said: “I think what we need a bit more of from Keir is a bit more showing what the vision is rather than saying there needs to be a vision.”

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