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Len McCluskey wrong to say Labour cannot win election - Kezia Dugdale

19 Mai 2017

One of Jeremy Corbyn's key allies, Unite boss Len McCluskey, has said he can not see Labour winning the election.

Speaking to the Politico website Mr McCluskey had said the scale of the task for Labour was "immense" and admitted: "I don't see Labour winning".

The Unite leader suggested winning 200 seats - almost 30 fewer than in 2015 - would be a "successful" result for United Kingdom leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Critics say the move leftwards stirs memories of the party's 1983 manifesto, described then by a Labour lawmaker as "the longest suicide note in history" for helping the Conservatives, and some have questioned how the party can fund its program.

The election manifesto for the main opposition party published yesterday confirmed numerous promises in a leaked draft last week.

"If it's not surrendered, and we have a majority in the parliamentary Labour Party, we should go to the courts to get it, and get the speaker to accept that our candidate is the leader of the opposition".

Media captionJeremy Corbyn: "This is a manifesto for all generations".

The 51-page document included commitments to take the railways and the Royal Mail back into public ownership while also nationalising the electricity distribution and transmission networks.

The Lib Dems say their manifesto, due out later, will offer young people a "brighter future". Jeremy Corbyn has come across as a man of the people and real leader.

The leader of the UK's biggest union said he was supportive of the manifesto but was not "optimistic" about Labour's chance on 8 June, given the hostility which he claimed it faced in large sections of the media.

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McCluskey said: "He's (Corbyn) got now just under four weeks to try to see if you can break through that image and it's going to be a very, very hard task".

There will be unambiguous wording, I am told, that immigration from the rest of the European Union will be controlled at the moment we leave the European Union, scheduled for April 2019. Should than happen, it would be Labour's worst result since 1935.

And, in a comment that will infuriate many Labour activists and MPs, Mr McCluskey said: "I believe that if Labour can hold on to 200 seats or so it will be a successful campaign".

Opinion polls suggest Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party is up to 20 percentage points ahead of Labour ahead of the June 8 election.

Both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband resigned after leading Labour to defeats in 2010 and 2015 but, amid speculation that jockeying for position has already begun, there have been suggestions that Mr Corbyn could stay on if he equals the 30.4% vote share that Ed Miliband got in 2015.

Ms Dugdale told them: "My message to you is this - in many parts of the country, the way to stop the nationalists is to vote Labour".

An analysis by the party of energy company accounts in 2013 found they were paying out £3.2 billion a year in dividends and interest payments. "These are made up numbers based on a shambolic manifesto with a £58 billion black hole at its heart".

"It's ordinary working people who will pay for the chaos of Corbyn". There will be an increase in income taxes on those earning more than 80,000 pounds a year - and another one on earnings over 123,000 pounds - a hike by a third on corporation tax and a new levy on companies paying staff more than 330,000 pounds a year.

The party has insisted its plans are fully costed - raising taxes on big business and higher earners by £48 billion to pay for its programme to increase spending on education, health and other public services.

Len McCluskey wrong to say Labour cannot win election - Kezia Dugdale