Keir Starmer has pointed to the leadership of the Labour Party as one of the primary causes behind the catastrophic December election loss.
In an interview with the Financial Times, he said during the election campaign he went to more than 40 constituencies where he knocked on doors and spoke to campaign teams.
“The topic of conversation was always what was coming up . . . anybody who knocks on doors knows a number of things came up.
“The leadership of Labour party was number one, fair or unfair.”
Starmer’s comments are the latest sign that he is set to take Labour in a different direction to Jeremy Corbyn after succeeding him as party leader last month.
He said another issue that repeatedly came up on the doorstep in the election campaign was the “overload” of Labour’s manifesto, with its proposals to nationalise several industries, hand £300 billion of shares to workers, and plans for an extra £83 billion a year of tax and spending.
“People thought there was too much in it and because there was too much in it they didn’t believe any of it,” he added.
Road back to power “starts in Scotland”
The interview comes as Sir Keir looks to outline Labour’s road back to power, which he announced would “start in Scotland” with virtual town hall meetings with voters in Glasgow and Fife.
He said he wants to have a “frank conversation” about how the party can win back the trust of voters north of the border.
In last year’s general election, Labour only returned one MP from Scotland, with the party losing six of the seven seats it had previously held.
It was the second time in less than five years that Labour has been left with a sole Scottish MP – the current shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray.
Recent polling has put Starmer’s net favourability 50 points ahead of Corbyn.
The Opinium research gives Starmer a 36 per cent approval rating compared to a 18 per cent disapproval rating.
Starmer also has a 68 per cent approval rating within his own party, with just 5 per cent of members disapproving of his leadership so far.