Labour Party chair blames second referendum offer for defeat

PUBLISHED: 02:36 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 02:36 13 December 2019

Labour Party chair Ian Lavery. Photograph: BBC.

Labour Party chair Ian Lavery. Photograph: BBC.

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Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery has blamed the offer of a second referendum - not Jeremy Corbyn - for the expected election defeat.

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Appearing on the BBC, Lavery said that Brexit was to blame for the fact his party was performing so badly in the results.

He said: "I think what we're seeing in the Labour heartlands is that people are very aggrieved at the fact that the party has taken a stance on Brexit in the way they have; 17.4m people voted for Brexit, and basically being ignored is not a good recipe. I think democracy prevails. Ignore democracy, and to be quite honest the consequences will come back and bite you."

When he was asked if he thought it was Jeremy Corbyn's leadership he said that the issue was not Corbyn but the offer of a second referendum.

He said: "In 2017 the Labour party leader was Jeremy Corbyn. We had a radical manifesto. In 2019 the Labour party had a radical manifesto, and Jeremy Corbyn was the leader of the Labour party as well. The big difference is that in 2019 we promised a second referendum. And people are suggesting, quite rightly, why should there be a second referendum when they had a referendum in 2016. That's the issue. It's not Jeremy Corbyn. It's Brexit, and ignoring democracy."

But Lucy Powell, Labour candidate for Manchester Central, said that the party should not "over-simplify" the result.

She tweeted: "When we are losing places like Leigh and winning places like Putney on the same night, things have fundamentally shifted. Let's not over-simplify our response to this."

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