By Tim McNulty
BLUE LABOUR figure Paul Embery has slammed prominent Remainer Andrew Adonis over the future of the left in Britain – claiming the entire structure of the Labour Party needs to be reformed.
Keir Starmer’s leadership has come under the spotlight in recent months following abysmal election results in May, which included losing the Leave-voting seat of Hartlepool.
The intervention of former leader Tony Blair and centrist sidekick Peter Mandelson as signalled moves to shunt Starmer onto a neo-New Labour stance.
Debating the future of the Labour movement on Spectator TV, the pair clashed over their two adverse visions of the left.
Mr Embery was clear in his view that leadership was not the problem but the entire “culture” of Labour that needed to reform.
He told the Spectator’s Katy Balls: “I disagree profoundly with Andrew that this is essentially just a question of leadership.
“This is not a question of leadership.
“Changing the leader of the Labour Party at the moment would essentially be reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.
“This is a question about the Labour Party’s DNA, this is a question about the culture, the structure of the Labour Party.
“It runs far wider then questions of leadership and party management.”
He went on to slam the Blairite faction within Labour of looking to “reheat” outdated neo-liberal policy platform.
Mr Embery said: “The idea that all we need to do is return to some sort of reheated Blairism, I think that for all the parts that were right in his essay in the New Statesman, Tony Blair – show a bit of humility.
“It was that kind of Blairite embrace of the global market and everything that went with it, you know the loose immigration policy, it was the promotion of multicultural neoliberalism over everything else that alienated blue collar communities in the first place.
“For all the good that New Labour did, it completely failed to understand the communitarian impulse in many of those communities.
“Peoples’ desire for social solidarity, their desire for stability for a sense of belonging.
Labour’s next big test comes in the shape of the Batley and Spen by-election.
Running for Labour is the Kim Leadbeater the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox. Also in the mix are former Respect Party leader George Galloway and the Heavy Woollen District Independents, both of whom could siphon off potential Labour votes.
Critics of Starmer have already questioned his position as leader in the event of another electoral defeat.
The by-election is set to take place on July 1, with the Conservatives now favourites to take the seat formerly held by Tracy Brabin.
Former Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbot recently told the Guardian: “Support from the large minority ethnic electorate may enable the party to hold the seat and Starmer to hang on as Labour leader.
“But if Labour loses again, it must surely be curtains for him.”
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