Labour is “morally right” for apologising for the Jeremy Corbyn era, Ed Balls’ former head of policy has said.
David Lammy today said sorry for nominating the Islington North MP to be Labour leader in 2015 – and claimed to be “staggered” that some individuals with antiseptic views remain in the Labour Party.
Speaking at Limmud festival, a Jewish event, the shadow foreign secretary said he “never believed” Corbyn would win the leadership, and that his nomination was “a mistake”.
“I regret nominating Jeremy Corbyn and if I knew what I do now, I never would have nominated him,” Lammy told an online audience, in comments first reported in Jewish News.
“I never believed he would become leader. That was a mistake and I am sorry for that.”
‘On a journey’
Lammy added that he is “fully behind” Keir Starmer, saying: “I don’t believe the overall culture is toxic any more … but until the party is genuinely welcome for everyone, we remain on a journey.”
His comments follow a recent survey of Jewish Labour Movement members which found strong support for Starmer’s attempts to tackle antisemitism since he became leader.
Around 70 per cent of the survey’s respondents said Labour was a safe space for Jewish people under Starmer’s leadership, compared with just four per cent who felt the same under Corbyn.
Lammy admitted Labour was still “on a journey” to improve relations with Jewish communities in the UK.
“I’ve met some of these individuals and am frankly staggered some are still in the party,” the Tottenham MP said.
“But as a lawyer, I understand that people appeal and go to court. There is a process, which can feel slow and tortuous sometimes, but it must be undertaken.”
At the 2017 general election Corbyn was just 2,227 votes away from having the chance to become Prime Minister, an analysis of marginal seats has revealed.
If the Labour leader had won seven seats narrowly taken by the Conservatives, he would have had the opportunity to form a “progressive alliance” with all other smaller parties, barring the Democratic Unionists.
Writing in this publication at the time, Adam Turner said win or lose, Corbyn had done more than any politician in history to engage young people in politics.
The following year he received a standing ovation from packed out Youth Parliament in the House of Commons.
An electoral map released prior showed Labour would take 600 seats in parliament if only 18-24 year-olds were allowed to vote.