Ken Clarke has said he believed Labour could have won the election – and had advice for the party looking to win back power from Boris Johnson.
He told All Out Politics says the result was “remarkable” for Boris Johnson, and said the “collapse of the Brexit Party vote was the key thing” at the same time as the “Remain vote was hopelessly divided”.
Clarke told Adam Boulton that another factor was “the increasingly obvious unpopularity of Corbyn and the left-wing elements of the policy of the Labour Party came ever more obvious.”
He added: “The Lib Dems never took off,” despite some life-long Conservative voters refusing to back the Tories.
In advice to the Labour Party, he said: “Settle down for two or three years during the civil war which the Labour Party’s had before.
“They have terrible problems with the constitution and they’ve really got absolutely nowhere in the last parliament.
“But the Labour Party is doomed until it stops itself being gripped these very keen, very sincere young left-wing, 60s lefties.
“If they had a social democrat Labour party fighting Boris in the election last week, I think a moderate Labour could well have won.
“But they’ve got to work out how to get around their absurd constitution and how to get a sensible person in tune with the left of centre majority in the UK back in charge.
“Ever since the whole history of Labour movement is when the left does get control, it fights very hard.
“Boris can forget them for a bit and he’s now got to concentrate on his amazing power to start delivering a strong government.”
Clarke also had some advice for Johnson. He said: “Now what I hope is we do get a soft Brexit. That all the campaigning rhetoric will be stopped, Boris will start negotiating, and once he gets the withdrawal agreement through then we get to the real negotiations.
“And I hope in the next year or two we get a grown up trade deal and he stops listening to right-wing nationalists with their absurd ‘no deal with foreigners’ stuff.
“I hope he starts listening to business, to economists, and those who understand how crucial it is the government competently delivers a new trading arrangement with Europe and how important it is we have new trade deals with them on defence, terrorism, policing and all the rest.”
He added: “He’s got five years to deliver a country that is healed, which has a healthy economy, and where the benefits of that economy can be spread across the whole country to the left-behind old industry towns that he has just based his majority on.”