Emily Thornberry explains exactly why Labour did so badly in the European elections

Emma Snaith
Monday 27 May 2019 16:00
news

As the results came in for this year's European elections which saw the Conservatives and Labour haemorrhage support, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry launched a furious attack on Labour's Brexit policy.

Her comments were a direct challenge to the party's official Brexit stance and Jeremy Corbyn's authority as it emerged the party lost half their seats in the European Parliament.

Speaking at the start of the BBC's European election coverage, Thornberry said:

We went into an election where the most important issue was what was our view on leaving the European Union and we were not clear about it.

We were not clear on the one single thing that people wanted to hear and that wasn't their (the candidates') fault...

We should have said quite simply that any deal that comes out of this government should be put to a confirmatory referendum and that Remain should be on the ballot paper and that Labour would campaign to Remain.

That's what we should have done and I think that it's very unfortunate that after these elections we will have to look very carefully at why we got this result. Members of the National Executive Committee, who made the decision on policy, will need to be listening to the membership and learning from that.

She added:

We will need to look again at out policy in relation to this and make sure we are clearer.

We have done everything we can to try to get a decent policy on leaving the European Union but I think that things have moved on

The Labour Party won only 10 seats in this year’s European elections, down from 20 at the last elections in 2014.

But it looks like critiques of the party's Brexit stance might be starting to get through to the Labour leadership following the disappointing election results.

In a statement released late on Sunday night, Jeremy Corbyn said the Brexit issue "will have to go back to the people, whether through a general election or a public vote".

More: Five things we've learned from the European elections 2019

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