Emily Thornberry joins Labour leadership race

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:30 18 December 2019

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer a People's Vote rally. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer a People's Vote rally. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has confirmed she will enter the Labour leadership race.

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In an article for the Guardian, she said: "Say what you like about New Labour after 1994, and it's known that I disagree with much of what it did, but credit where credit's due: that team had deep political insight and absolute clarity of purpose, boiled down to a five-point pledge-card.

"It would never have voted to give Johnson the Brexit election he craved.

"When I faced Johnson for the entire two years he was foreign secretary, the only ministerial job he previously held, my strategy was to focus relentlessly on five key issues where there were huge differences between Labour's policy and his, and where his position was indefensible: the Northern Ireland border; the war in Yemen; Donald Trump; human rights; and climate change.

"I took the fight to him every day, and pummelled him every week. Each time, the mask slipped, and we saw the real man - a mendacious, lazy, dangerous charlatan, unable to hide behind the tiresome smokescreen of bluster he usually relies on. He hated it, especially coming from a woman.

"So when the Labour leadership contest begins, whoever is standing - and I hope to be one of the candidates - the first question shouldn't be about their position on Brexit, or where they live in our country.

"The first question should instead be: what's your plan for taking on Johnson over the next five years? And do you have the political nous and strategic vision to reunite our party, rebuild our machine, gain the trust of the public, give hope to our declining towns and smaller cities, and never again waste the opportunity to take back power?"

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