John McDonnell has said Labour’s defeat in Copeland has given him the desire to have a “new spirit” of cooperation with MPs who are opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
The shadow chancellor yesterday was revealed to have written an article warning there was a “soft coup” being launched against Corbyn by Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson.
But he today called on Labour MPs to “unite” to prevent the party being defeated at the next general election.
“After Copeland, I think we’ve all looked over the edge of the cliff and realised if we continue on like this, in terms of the way there is disunity in the party, we will reap the consequences,” he told Sky News today.
“There is a new spirt in the party and that includes me as well,” he said. “Now’s the time for us all to come together to unite,” he said. “I think Copeland has changed the whole dynamic now.”
Asked about his claim there was a fresh bid underway to unseat Corbyn, McDonnell said: “I was angry and I made it clear what I thought was going on.”
He made the accusation in an article he wrote for left-wing newspaper Labour Briefing, which was printed last week and uploaded online on Sunday night.
It was a response to Blair’s criticism of Corbyn’s leadership and Lord Mandelson’s claim he worked every day to try and oust the party leader.
Labour’s humiliating by-election loss in Copeland to the Conservatives led to renewed calls for Corbyn to change direction.
On Monday evening, Labour MPs slammed claims by Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti that the defeat was due to party “neglect” of its heartlands.
MPs were upset that few members of the Shadow Cabinet turned up for the weekly PLP meeting in parliament to hear the debrief by campaign managers.