Rebecca Long-Bailey faced a grilling from Andrew Neil as he likened her to Jeremy Corbyn for not wanting to change the Labour Party’s manifesto. Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Neil show, Ms Long-Bailey said: “I’m certainly not a continuation of Jeremy Corbyn or indeed any other member of the Shadow Cabinet.” Mr Neil added: “You wouldn’t drop a single policy from Labour’s election manifesto, you would just package it differently.”
The BBC host said: “What you’re telling BBC viewers tonight is you would take the same old Corbyn chocolate bar and just give it a different wrapper.”
Ms Long-Bailey defended the accusation as she said: “It’s not the same old chocolate Corbyn bar.
“This is what the Labour Party fundamentally believes. Why are we here? What is the Labour Party for?
“It’s for bettering people’s lives.”
Mr Neil continued: “It’s for winning elections and you want to proceed with the same prospectus that lost you the worst defeat in 85 years.”
The Shadow Business Secretary defended the policies and claimed they were “hugely popular”.
She added: “We lost so much trust in our Brexit platform and on other issues within the party that many of the popular policies just didn’t cut through.”
The interview comes after Mr Corbyn’s successor is expected to lead Labour to one of its worst local election results just weeks after taking over the party, according to an internal report.
Councils in traditional heartlands are expected to fall in an echo of its dire general election campaign.
Plymouth, Amber Valley in Derbyshire, Harlow and West Lancashire are all marked up to be certain losses and councils in so-called red wall areas like Sheffield could also go.
Elections are being held in 118 English local authorities on May 7 with eight mayoral polls and votes for 36 police and crime commissioners.
Frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer is widely expected to be installed as Labour’s new leader on April 4.
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But with just a month to turnaround the party’s dismal standing with voters he appears doomed to lead the party to a staggering defeat, with 315 seats wiped out in the worst case scenario.
The internal party document warns the party to brace for “substantial losses that may constitute one of our worst local election performances” in recent history.
It says Labour lost “swathes of support” at the general election among older voters and lower income families.
The report looks at three different scenarios and found it will lose ten councils in the worst case.
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