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Senior Labour figures should pay price for defeat, not juniors, says Thornberry

Emily Thornberry is the first MP to officially declare as a candidate to replace Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.

Emily Thornberry (Victoria Jones/PA)
Emily Thornberry (Victoria Jones/PA)

By Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent

Senior Labour advisers should pay the price for the party’s disastrous election showing rather than junior workers, the shadow foreign secretary has said.

Responding to reports that Labour workers were angry that they faced losing their jobs while staff close to leader Jeremy Corbyn would remain in place, Emily Thornberry called for a different approach.

Asked if she was surprised that people like Mr Corbyn’s communications director, Seumas Milne, were still in place, Ms Thornberry told ITV’s Peston: “I think it is really sad to see the way in which the staff at the head office and in the leader’s office are being told that many of them may be being made redundant, but as far as I understand it, the senior people within those teams are not under such a threat.

“It does seem to me that if decisions have been made, wrongly, it should be those people who pay the price and not those who were working night and day in junior positions.”

Ms Thornberry is the first MP to officially declare as a candidate to replace Mr Corbyn as leader of Labour, and her comments come after reports that party staff expressed concern they could lose their posts while senior figures remained on the payroll.

A Labour spokesman told the PA news agency: “We don’t comment on staffing matters.”

In an apparent response to Ms Thornberry’s claims that she had argued against Labour supporting Boris Johnson’s push for a December election which would be fought on the Brexit issue, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said many others had wanted delay.

He Tweeted: “For historical accuracy, many of us wanted to delay election until after the Brexit legislation had been won or lost.

“This would have meant in the New Year but was impossible once SNP & Lib Dems decided to vote for one & gave Johnson the votes he needed.”

Meanwhile, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy insisted she was “seriously thinking” of running to be Labour leader.

She told the Daily Mirror that Labour is facing its “last chance to save the party”.

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