Emily Thornberry said that Labour supporters who voted Leave were ‘stupid’, former MP claims

Emily Thornberry said that Labour supporters who voted Leave were ‘stupid’, former MP claims

A Labour MP who lost her seat on Thursday has claimed that shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said that Labour supporters who voted Leave were “stupid”.

Caroline Flint’s claim – which has not been verified – risks undermining any bid to succeed Jeremy Corbyn by Ms Thornberry, who is believed to be mulling a bid for the leadership.

The former Don Valley MP said that senior Labour figures like Thornberry and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer who argued for a second referendum were not “credible” as future leaders.

And she also said that the leader should also not be “Corbyn without a beard”, warning that the agenda he followed had put off a lot of traditional working-class voters.

Ms Flint was one of the loudest voices in the parliamentary Labour Party arguing for the result of the 2016 referendum to be respected.

She told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ”I don’t believe anybody who have been the architects of our European policy in the last few years is credible to be leader – I don’t think they can win back these seats.”

And she added: “I don’t believe there’s any credibility for these people. Keir Starmer led us to a policy that did not listen to Labour Leave voices who urged caution, he led us down the path of a second referendum.

“And I’m afraid Emily Thornberry did as well – she said to one of my colleagues ‘I’m glad my constituents aren’t as stupid as yours’.

“I’m sorry, it’s not acceptable. We are going to have to really look at what might make a candidate for leader who can at least steer us to a better place over the next few years.”

Ms Flint, who served as MP for Don Valley for 22 years and was a minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, said

that since 2010 Labour had paid too much attention to voices from London and the university cities and not enough to its heartland areas in the Midlands and the north.

“I’m trying to stem my anger, but I’m emotional because I do believe that in the pursuit of Remain a number of people who have been ardent Remainers in our party- on our front bench people like Kier Starmer, people like Emily Thornberry, but many others like Hilary Benn, Yvette Cooper – they have contributed to sacrificing 59 seats … but ‘Don’t worry, we’ve got Putney and Canterbury’,” she said.

Emily Thornberry (Reuters)


“With all due respect to the Labour MPs for those constituencies I don’t believe that was worth it.”

Asked if Jeremy Corbyn was taking enough personal responsibility for the party’s defeat, she replied simply “no”..

And on the question of who should take over as leader, she  said: “I don’t think it should be anybody who has had a hand in our Brexit strategy over the last few years, and I don’t think it can be Corbyn without a beard, I think that would be the wrong move as well.”

There was no immediate response to Ms Flint’s comments from Ms Thornberry’s office.

The Islington South and Finsbury MP previously lost her post in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet in 2014 after sending a tweet about a house draped in England flags with a white van parked outside which was widely criticised for snobbery.

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