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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell spoke to Socialist Worker on the recent by-election results

This article is over 6 years, 9 months old
Issue 2543

“What we’re seeing at the moment is the people who never supported Jeremy are moving again.

John McDonnell

John McDonnell (Pic: Flickr@GarryKnight)

I think the rank and file of the Labour Party and the trade union movement will be angry and reject the idea that it’s somehow Jeremy’s fault that we lost in Copeland.

It’s as a result of Jeremy and the mobilisation of our mass membership in Stoke that we wiped out Ukip and ended Paul Nuttall’s career.

We knew we had difficulties in Copeland. Since 1997 the Labour vote there has been eroding. In addition to that there were the changes in boundaries in 2010.

The issue is that people will not vote for a divided party and in 20 months we’ve had two leadership elections.

A week before the by-election we had Tony Blair attacking his own party. Three days before you had Peter Mandelson saying every day he’s trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

We need to get out there and campaign, mobilise and develop alternative economic strategies. That way we’ll win through.

I think they realise there’s no chance of winning another leadership campaign against us.

They’re trying to undertake a soft coup and undermine us from behind.

As Mandelson said, every day he’s trying to undermine us. People are seeing through that now.

We’ll get over Copeland. It was in special circumstances.

It showed what we can do in Stoke when we mass mobilise.

It’s always been a low turnout area.

A lot of people have been alienated from politics overall, they’re not really engaging.

The nature of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics is grassroots, building consensus around politics, building a party base and a social movement at the same time. That’s going to take time.”

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