Labour needs to 'acknowledge a problem needs fixing' says Blair
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A remainer Labour MP has admitted that the campaign for a second EU referendum was “wrong”, saying that people entered into the first referendum in “good faith”. Clive Lewis, who was one of the 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a leadership candidate in 2015, previously said the Mr Corbyn’s leadership would be “in peril” if he failed to support the second referendum. But he has now admitted that to do so would be “playing into the hands of people who say you’re undermining democracy”.
Mr Lewis explained: “When I was campaigning for a confirmatory second referendum, I did so because what we had before us was a f***ing s*** sandwich.
“But people entered into that referendum in good faith. Then to turn around and say we need a second referendum…
“You’re playing into the hands of people who say you’re undermining democracy.”
The MP for Norwich South added: “I genuinely believe that leaving, joining and rejoining the EU is a displacement activity.
“We have to sort this country, our own back yard and the union out, first.”
Sir Keir Starmer has been firm in his opposition to a second EU referendum, making a point of accepting the referendum result.
He previously told the BBC: “We have exited the EU and we are not going back – let me be very clear… about that. There is no case for rejoining.
“What I want to see now is not just Brexit done in the sense that we’re technically out of the EU, I want to make it work.
“I want to make sure we take advantage of the opportunities and we have a clear plan for Brexit.”
Mr Lewis also criticised Sir Keir Starmer for his approach to party selections, amid claims that the Labour leader is attempting to shut out the left of the party.
He said the move is “dangerous for democracy”, questioning the “culture” that is being created in the party.
Speaking to the New Statesman about Sir Keir’s approach to candidate selection, Mr Lewis said: “It definitely happened under Corbyn. It happened under Ed, Tony and Gordon to varying degrees.
“There is now a growing body of evidence and a growing sense that the scale of what’s happening is not healthy.”
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He added: “If you’re already dipping your hands in that muck before you come into government, then that’s dangerous for democracy generally.
“I think the question that members and the public have to ask themselves is that if even a fraction of this is true, what kind of culture is being created?”
Sir Keir has been accused of conducting a purge of the left wing of the party after blocking certain candidates from standing for the party at the next election.
A member of the Socialist Campaign Group told the Telegraph: “It’s an awful, awful atmosphere.
“Keir Starmer says the party is united. I’ve never known the party more disunited.
“People are frightened to say things. People are really reluctant because they think they might just be next. It’s a terrible situation.
“They’re just waiting for everyone in the Socialist Campaign Group just to make one wrong move and they’ll find a reason to deselect them. It’s a case of a huge purge.”
Meanwhile, Emma Dent Coad, a former Labour MP for Kensington, said a fair contest had been “sacrificed for the sake of factional intrigue from Labour officials”.
But the opposition leader defended the move, with his spokesperson saying: “We’ve changed the party to make sure we’re in tune with the instincts and aspirations of the British people once again”.
The Labour Party declined to comment.
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