Ed Miliband's decision to sack Emily Thornberry over her tweeting of a white van and England flags had made it harder for candidates and activists to campaign on the doorstep, senior Labour figures said yesterday.
The Labour leader forced his close political ally's resignation as shadow Attorney General on Friday – after her tweet and comments that the house in Rochester and Strood was "remarkable" – because he feared the row would become "toxic" for his party, aides said.
One Labour MP said he had spent yesterday knocking on doors trying to persuade angry voters that Labour was still a party for working people.
Ed could have killed this story on Thursday evening by saying Emily Thornberry's ill-judged tweet did not represent his views or the views of the Labour Party. Instead he gave fuel to the fire by sacking her.
- A Labour MP
A senior MP claimed the party was "trapped in this endless cycle of f**wittery":
It just feels like we are trapped in this endless cycle of f*wittery. There are spells you go through when you are in a cycle of bad news and the narrative has to change. This tweet from her was ridiculous but this could have been dealt with privately. Sacking her gave it total rocket boosters. Sometimes it's better just to take a deep breath and count to 10. What we shouldn't do is embark on a fresh round of soul-searching about whether we are in touch with white van men. There is no battle for the heart of the Labour Party. We know we are in touch with working people.
- A senior Labour MP